JUSTIN Holbrook reflected on the Wakefield win, the League Leaders Shield and looked ahead to Wolves when the Star's Mike Critchley caught up with him.

MC: How difficult a game was the Wakefield one?

JH: It is tough for a number of reasons but I thought we handled it quite well.

It was a hard game to attack - it was a really short 10 metres and they were going before the ball was played and were allowed to do it.

I thought we dealt with that ok and defended really well.

St Helens Star:

MC: It must be re-assuring to see Zeb Taia come through ok after that dislocated shoulder?

JH: It was great to have Zebby back as he had not played for six weeks. It was good for him to get that game under his belt and he came through really good, which is great news for us. He was outstanding in that spell leading up to his injury. So yes, great that he is back.

MC: After two defeats in his last outings, an 18-year-old like Jack Welsby could have suffered a knock in confidence, but he was excellent on Friday.

JH: Jack had a great game and that’s great for his development and for us.

He is learning a lot every time he plays in the first team, he went a long way to playing really consistent last week against Wakefield, which is really important for us.

MC: There was quite a warm reception for you at the end, had you expected that?

JH: I wasn’t sure but it made me realise how great the fans are. and that they are still appreciative of what I am doing here and what I still want to do. I am really happy that they have chosen to be on the supportive end, because it was a difficult decision.

We have got a lot of good games left in this season that means we want to make sure we do well.

St Helens Star:

MC: In terms of the players out, what are we looking at timescale wise?

JH: Big Al’s scan went really and he will definitely be right for the final. Cootey, Morgan Knowles and Robes will all be right.

MC: Does a player like Lachlan Coote need to play before Wembley, given the length of his lay-off?

JH: Ideally you would like a game beforehand, but we will find that out next week whether that is possible.

If it is, then great, but if not then he’s been playing long enough that we are fine. As long as he has got the training under his belt he can go straight in.

MC: Are you keeping Robes out of the firing line, or has he got an ongoing concern?

JH: No, he is just pulling up a little sore from the surgery he has had.

It is just a case of being smart with him, given we have our biggest game in a couple of weeks.

MC: You have picked a strong 19 - aside from the handful of injured players.

JH: It is a strong 19 off the back of players having a rest only a few weeks ago.

We need to be building up for the Challenge Cup final.

We have picked a strong team, but there are still plenty who won’t play who we will get back soon.

It is definitely an awkward game and there’s no point trying to deny that. It is a game that has got to be played and we have to get on with it.

St Helens Star:

MC: League Leaders Shield for a second year in a row. Is that a good enough reward for the week to week performances?

JH: I am pleased for the club and in particular the players. What it rewards is the team that has been the most consistent all year. The players have proven that, with five more games to go.

The fact that have done it by such a margin is a credit to them.

St Helens Star:

MC: Is the shield and the home draw and two bites in the play-offs an adequate reward for finishing top?

JH: Yes, definiely. The finals system, the way it is this year, is a good and justified reward. We will have earned the week off having played 29 Super League games and four Challenge Cup ties, 33 weeks straight.

People who complained about resting players at the London game will have to look at their own clubs having two or three weeks off because they are not in the Challenge Cup. That puts it in perspective. To finish top and earn a week off is a reward.

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That is fine as a prize. We all know in our game that it is Grand Final day that counts most. It is great recognition for being the most consistent, but at the end of the day we want to be lifting that trophy at Old Trafford.

St Helens Star:

MC: Warrington had a dreadful weekend in France - on and off the pitch. What are your thoughts about those events?

JH: It was a tough day for them, extremely hot conditions over there and a very hostile environment. It was a tough trip for them, that is for sure.

They will have a few out this week as a result but they will be ok with that. They have been rolling their everyone out, trying to win games and have been disappointed with that.

Now they will be really focused on the Challenge Cup Final.

They will have a few out and will even have Matty Smith coming in and having a run for them.

They will be right in a few weeks.

MC: Does the Matty Smith move surprise you?

JH: He is an experienced player and good player. If they have a half back out injured and he is not getting a run over in Catalans then it makes sense.

St Helens Star:

MC: At the other end of the half back age spectrum, Danny Richardson showed some nice touches on Friday, scoring one and setting up another? Good that he is keeping his head up.

JH: I thought he was good and did some real quality things for us, which we know he can do. He has got to keep doing it regularly.

MC: Have you got the 17 names in your head for Wembley or are players still playing and training their way into contention?

JH: I have definitely haven't got in my head the 17 due to the fact that we have got to play two more games before then. I will wait till we finish the Leeds game before Thursday week before I worry about that.