Justin Holbrook was in a buoyant mood after Mark Percival’s late try secured a 22-19 victory for St Helens over Wigan on Thursday.
Percival rose highest to grab Matt Smith’s kick and go over in the corner to seal the points and maintain Holbrook’s perfect record in charge of the Saints.
“It was a good tough old game – neither side looked fantastic did they?” said Holbrook. “I am obviously new, but I knew the importance of how big a game it was.
“I didn’t shy away from it to the players – I knew what it meant to both clubs and for us to find a way to win, well, I’m rapped.
“We were very tired at half-time and I thought we had done well to be that close to them. Wigan controlled the first half and we just hung on in there.
“We were a bit all over the shop with the ball in the second half but we kept turning up in defence. We made one error on a kick and outside of that we defended really strongly.
“Mark Percival then came up with that big play to catch that ball. He was patient all night – he didn’t get a lot of ball but came up with two massive plays that were probably the difference between the two sides.
“I couldn’t see either side getting on top in that second half. Wigan held us out and then we did the same. It wasn’t a great spectacle with the ball, but you wouldn’t know who was going to win and that made it great.
“Last week we played well the whole game. To experience a win like tonight when you don’t play well can only help the team as a group.
“It was an awesome atmosphere. Two teams singing throughout the whole game, close to the field – it was awesome to be a part of.
“I’m sure the players must be so happy to be part of these games. I really enjoyed it.”