Justin Holbrook says he was ‘all but gone to England’ to join Warrington Wolves before signing with Sydney Roosters for the 2024 NRL season.
Holbrook, 47, will work as an assistant coach at the club from next season on a three-year deal, working under Trent Robinson.
The Australian coach was believed to be Warrington’s top target following the departure of Daryl Powell on Sunday, reportedly holding an interview on Tuesday.
Renowned Australian journalist Andrew Voss reported on Thursday that Holbrook had signed a ‘lucrative’ four-year deal with the club.
However, in a late u-turn, the 2019 Super League Grand Final winning coach has opted to remain in Australia, explaining how close he came to a move to the Halliwell Jones Stadium.
Holbrook became a free agent following Gold Coast Titans’ decision to sack the former St Helens boss earlier in June.
Justin Holbrook on decision to remain in NRL
“My decision to go with the Roosters was my personal knowledge of the club and how professional they are,” Holbrook said.
“Having very good people that are well-qualified in their roles makes the world of difference to coaches, and knowing Robbo well and how he will challenge me to add value to the club made this decision make sense to me.
“I must say I was all but gone to England to join the Warrington Wolves who were terrific to deal with, but it just wasn’t right for my family, so again when I spoke to Trent and Nick and understood the role I would play, I felt the Roosters were the right choice.
“Now it’s all done, I am looking forward to doing what I love, and that’s coaching.”
Holbrook will officially commence his new role with the Roosters at the start of the 2024 pre-season later this year.
It leaves Warrington searching for their next head coach, with Anthony Griffin and Paul Rowley the new joint-favourites to take on the vacant position.
Gary Chambers was appointed interim head coach on Sunday evening, with Warrington set to take on Catalans Dragons on Friday, live on Sky Sports.
Sunday’s 42-6 defeat to Wakefield marked the side’s fifth successive defeat, dropping them to the last play-off spot in sixth position on the Super League table.