JUSTIN Holbrook is preparing his Saints side for one last time before he returns to Australia to join the NRL’s Gold Coast Titans.

Some will wait to serve judgment until after the final hooter on Saturday, but his impact at Saints cannot be calculated purely in terms of the silverware weighed in.

In two-and-a-half years he has transformed the feel of Saints, healed wounds, closed the separation between club and fans and got the team playing an entertaining brand of rugby again.

Assistant coach, Paul Wellens, who has developed under Holbrook, said: “He has been phenomenal. The first thing that shines through with Justin - not just us who work with him on a daily basis - is that he is a really likeable character.

“He is not someone who fluffs his words, he says it as it is and there is a real honesty about him which people respect.

“Those of us who work with him closely every day certainly do.

“There is no doubt that he has had a really positive impact on the place and we are going to miss having him around.

"I suppose like all sporting organisations, good coaches come and go - and the club will continue to move forward beyond Justin but we would like to finish this season off the way that sends him home a Grand Final winner."

Prop forward Alex Walmsley puts Holbrook’s impact in even stronger terms, spelling out how the relatively unknown Australian’s appointment has helped healed festering divisions.

“He has been unbelievable. He came at a point where there was a hostile environment at the club and a separation between the fans, the community and the club.

“Considering we are a rugby league town it should not really be like that.

“He has come in and united us all and got the town right behind us.

“Our fans have been right behind us and have been unbelievable for two and half years after some previous years in which they were watching us play a style that was not good enough for our club.

“The fans are right behind us, and so is the community and the club and a large part of that is down to Justin with what he has done wanted to do here.

“He is an unbelievable coach but also a remarkable person. As much as he has improved us as players he has made us better people as well,” Walmsley said.

Those views are echoed by Jonny Lomax, who has returned to the halves under Holbrook’s stewardship.

Lomax said: “One thing he spoke about when he first came in was getting back to a feeling of togetherness in the town.

"He has definitely achieved that and there has been a buzz about it since he came in.

"One thing from the playing group was that there was an awful lot of frustration going about in the camp.

“He wanted to bring excitement back because if you are getting frustrated doing what you love then there is something wrong.

"He saw the potential in the group. When he took over we were in seventh position.

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“He gave us that enjoyment back in the way that we are playing and made it clear that we are here to enjoy ourselves and express ourselves as well.

"That has been a huge part of his ethos and why he has been able to get so much out of us."