SAINTS boss Justin Holbrook reflected on the team wrapping up up the regular season by a record margin when Mike Critchley caught up with him.

MC: In a salary capped sport, how does a team finish 16 points clear?

JH: It is so hard to do – and the playing group and staff at the club deserve credit. To be able to perform over 29 rounds, week in, week out, is tremendous. It is something I am proud as coach.

We know it is the finals now and those 16 points are erased, but at the end of the day it has been a massive effort.

To be the best team ever, to be able to do that is a really good achievement.

MC: Finishing top, what does it give you apart from a week off – extra confidence or added pressure?

JH: A bit of both really. People will talk about us being 16 points clear and we are going to be expected to win – so that is extra pressure.

But there is confidence that comes with that. We are 16 points clear for a reason – we have been able to play well.

We know how we are playing and we are really clear on that. At the end of the day we have to rise next week and if we do we will be at Old Trafford. Then we have got to do it again. If we play good enough we will win.

MC: You will play Salford or Wigan – do you start doing work on both now – or focus on your selves until you know what you are dealing with?

JH: I will wait and we will concentrate on ourselves for this week and then the opposition next week. That gives us an opportunity to mentally freshen up next week.

We will still train hard, but we won’t have the mental application at looking at opposition and those types of things. It will be great for us having played 33 weeks straight to mentally have a rest. We will have a normal week.

MC: You could play Salford – who have achieved plenty this year against a lot of people’s predictions and with limited resources?

JH: I don’t really agree with that. I agree with it on the history and the club and their limited resources, but if you look at their actual team they are a very good rugby league team and as a coach, that is what I look at.

When you have Jackson Hastings in there, Niall Evalds at the back and Ken Sio and Krisnan Inu in the centres and Josh Jones and Lee Mossop in the pack you are going to have a very good team.

MC: The Hull game was not pretty at times, but nevertheless a win against a desperate team playing to keep their year alive?

JH: We did not play great at the weekend – we know that.

But we faced a desperate side and handled that situation well.

We have played with a lot of patience this year and it is going to put us in good stead in the finals series.

MC: The attack created three great opportunities for Tommy Makinson to take in the first period?

JH: Yes, we took the tries very well – from the opportunities we created.

There was some great execution in those tries in the first half, but in the second half we did a lot of defending and got a bit tired and the execution was not quite there.

To have it there in the first half was great to watch.

St Helens Star:

MC: Tommy – Super League's leading scorer, but outstanding at both ends of the field this year?

He had a big billing as Golden Boot but he has lived up to it.

JH: He sure has. It is great that he is the leading try scorer, but it is the other end of the field where he does his best work and gets us out of trouble.

He has been a fantastic player this year.

MC: Five representatives in the Dream Team, maybe a few very unlucky players – not least Jonny Lomax.

JH: There are a heap of them.

It is a tough team to pick as there are so many different opinions, but I could easily throw in Jonny, Al, Percy and Zeb Taia.

There are so many players we could have had in there, but we got a heap in last year and didn’t win, so I don’t think it matters this year – it is a real team focus and that is what we will be relying on.

St Helens Star:

MC: Jonny has been great this year - what have you made of his performances?

JH: Jonny has been fantastic this year and for me he has always been a very good player, but this yea he has been a great player.

I just think from the start of pre-season he has had a real determination about the way he has gone about it and has been great every single week.

We will need him to continue that in the finals and we are sure he will.

MC: So looking at the five teams in the play-offs, we have two teams who have dipped in form, two who have picked up and pushed into the top three and yourselves. Does it matter how you come to these finals.

JH: There are five teams who are going to be confident that they can win the comp. It is a matter of playing good on the night it is great how we have done the regular season but we have to go out and perform next week.

We have played so great at home this year, so we have got the reward of resting this week and a home semi the week after – that is enough reward now.

We have to go out and play well. We have given ourselves a great opportunity.

MC: How do you transfer that week-to-week consistency into the knockout rugby?

JH: By having the muscle memory – the feeling that we have done it. We have got to be clear in how we want to play and then go out and do it.

That’s the only way it is going to change the results for us.