On this day in 2019: Justin Holbrook bows out of St Helens on a high

Justin Holbrook of St Helens
St Helens coach Justin Holbrook lifts the trophy after the final whistle during the Betfred Super League Grand Final at Old Trafford, Manchester, 2019

Justin Holbrook signed off as St Helens head coach as a Grand Final winner on this day in 2019.

The Australian, now coaching NRL side Gold Coast Titans, guided the Saints to a 23-6 victory over Salford at Old Trafford.

A look back

The Saints got off to a great start, with Morgan Knowles and Zeb Taia scoring within 25 minutes. Jake Bibby pulled one back for the Red Devils late in the half and they were only 12-6 behind at the break.

Mark Percival scored for St Helens in the second half, while Lachlan Coote notched a couple of penalty goals to put the game out of reach for Salford.

And with two minutes to go, Tommy Makinson added a drop goal to seal a fantastic 23-6 win for St Helens as they were crowned 2019 Super League champions.

REPORT: St Helens crowned Super League champions – talking points & player ratings

Speaking after the game, Holbrook told BBC Radio 5 Live: “To be able to deliver the trophy back to the town is all I wanted to do. It took me two-and-a-half years to do it, but I’ve finally done it.

“I was really confident in our side but we had to play well, and we did.

“I knew Salford wouldn’t go away, so I didn’t expect to blow them away early at all – all credit to them, they played a great game.

“We’ve done a lot of good work and to finish it off with the trophy is awesome.”

St Helens have since completed the three-peat, having won the Grand Final under Kristian Woolf in 2020 and 2021.

Saints edged past rivals Wigan 8-4 in the final at Hull in 2020, whilst they ran-out 12-10 winners against Catalans Dragons as the big dance returned to Old Trafford in 2021.

Only three clubs have won the double more than once – Wigan (7 – 1989-90, 1990-91, 1991-92, 1992-93, 1994-95, 1995-96, 2013), St Helens (4 – 1965-66, 1996, 2006, 2021) and Huddersfield (2 – 1912-13, 1914-15).

READ MORE: Kevin Naiqama confirms retirement after Grand Final triumph

About Drew Darbyshire 8324 Articles
Love Rugby League Deputy Editor. Joined the site ahead of the 2017 World Cup and been a full-time reporter since 2018.

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