SAINTS boss Justin Holbrook was on hand to answer questions when the Star's Mike Critchley caught up with him at the Challenge Cup media day at Bolton.

MC: Will the wholesale resting of players on Sunday benefit the team going into the next 10 or so weeks?

JH: I said last week that we had played second and third away and then Wigan at home. We needed to freshen up mentally and physically. We were able to do that and are ready to go now.

MC: The team has been going well – you must be confident, as good as he is, that it can cope without Lachlan Coote if he is not fit for Saturday?

JH: We can cope, even though nobody wants to be without him, but we can’t do anything about it.

We will get on with it. We have a great squad and whoever we go with will do a great job.

MC: Cup semis are massive and last year’s loss really hurt. How is this year’s approach different?

JH: I think we have just played differently this year. All year as the season has gone on our game management has been a lot more settled and we are going to need that on Saturday.

It is an exciting day – and great to have another opportunity after the disappointment here last year.

Whenever you do something wrong, or lose at something, all you want to do is have another go.

For us we have had to wait 12 months – and we get another shot at it on Saturday.

All the reasons behind how we have gone about things as a team and as a group, we are better prepared for the game.

MC: Defeats like last year’s have the potential to scar any team, but it will also give motivation?

JH: I don’t think they will scar us – there are obviously a few different players too

We are definitely going to be motivated for it that is for sure.

MC: What are the dangers presented by Halifax – and what sort of things do you have to look out for?

MC: We have just got to look at the way they play closely and make sure we prepare for their team as we would any other side. That means we have to be aware of their threats but make sure we keep our focus on ourselves.

We wont let any outside distractions and people saying ‘you are going to win’. This playing group won’t be taking anything for granted – we know this is a great opportunity and one that we want to take and are Halifax are in our way.

MC: So far at the top of Super League, is it beneficial to have a different focus at this juncture?

JH: Definitely, 100 per cent.

There is great excitement in the Super League with six games to go and we are in a good spot. To throw this in now is what we need as a group, players and staff.

We know if we play well on Saturday, then in three games later, we get to play at Wembley for the final of the Challenge Cup.

It is awesome and what we want.

MC: There is only Robes who has played at Wembley out of the current squad. How important is getting there for this group?

JH: Wembley is as big a thing as you can get. We all know about the success Saints have had in our town and what the cup means and that we haven’t been there in 11 years.

And the side and the squad as good as we have got, we want to get there. We want to get there for ourselves, but also for everyone in our club and the town. Those people will have such great memories growing up.

Before Super League started their Grand Finals the Challenge Cup Final was everything, the day out and the festival that it is.

MC: Saints haven’t won a semi-final since 2014 – there’s a school of thought that the club needs to win a big knockout game to really kick on?

JH: We have not won a semi-final in four or five years and we have had to wait 12 months to play in another. It is finally here and it does not matter who we are playing – it is a semi final and we want to get past that stage.

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MC: In terms of the Challenge Cup what are your recollections of this from the other side of the world?

JH: It was great growing up watching the finals – even though the time difference made it difficult. As a young kid I would always try and stay up as there was always an Aussie or two in the competing sides which helped the promotion of the game. We would look at the packed stadium and that is probably something I have appreciated more since I have been here.

I watched it last year in my lounge, miserable as anything. It was horrible.

Get the chance on Saturday to get there to play there ourselves if we play well enough.

MC: The clash between Hull FC and Warrington means that the final, if Saints beat Halifax, is going to be a huge one.

JH: We will worry about our own game but that other semi is going to be a cracking game. If we are good enough to win ours, whoever we play in the final will make for an awesome occasion