Justin Holbrook “okay” with Eamonn McManus comments

Drew Darbyshire

St Helens coach Justin Holbrook revealed he was “okay” with the comments made by chairman Eamonn McManus in his programme notes.

The Saints lifted the League Leaders’ Shield following a 4-0 win over Castleford on Friday night – but it was McManus who made the headlines before kick-off as he blasted the officiating of Robert Hicks in their defeat to Warrington in the Challenge Cup final at Wembley last Saturday.

Hicks didn’t go to the screen for an early effort by Saints prop Morgan Knowles. The week before the final, Hicks had met with Warrington chief executive Karl Fitzpatrick and a Wolves supporter that had made a death threat towards him on social media.

McManus wrote: “How a referee can be involved in a publicity stunt with the CEO of a participating club in the week before a Challenge Cup final defies belief and reason.

“This apparently resulted from some pathetic spat on the open sewer that is Twitter some weeks before.

“The fact referees go, and are allowed to go, on Twitter with fans is utterly beyond me: no good can come from it and clearly no good does.

“This was amply consolidated, in the eye of many, in reality when Hicks comprehensibly did not go to the video referee for Morgan Knowles’ clear and legitimate opening try and then followed it up shortly with other highly questionable decisions.”

Speaking after the game, Holbrook revealed he had no problem with what McManus said in his programme notes.

Holbrook said: “I read the programme while I was sitting in the shed.

“I was okay with it, he has been involved in the game for a long time and I thought what he said was okay.

“Every week we talk about the previous game and that’s what we do in the programme.

“We talk about the previous game and the one moving forward so it’s not like we are going to be talking about it for the next week and the week after that. It was relevant to discuss last week and now we move on.”

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