Just In, Give Him Time

Has anyone else felt that rush of air whizz past them? It’s accompanied by the sound of a trouser leg being moved sharply upwards. No? Then you’ve not experienced the knee jerk reaction of some Saints fans.

We’re a demanding lot in the red vee. We want winning, entertaining rugby while watching the stars of Rugby League in St. Helens shirts. And do you know what, we should be demanding. We need to keep the club on their toes, and not allow them to rest on their laurels thinking its job done if we win a trophy or two along the way. To be thinking of just wanting to make the Top 8 this season is far below the expectations of this club.

However, we need to also be measured with this. We’re watching Rugby League, not football. From our squad people will have ideas of who they want to get rid of. However, picking out half a dozen or so players and saying ‘we should get rid of these & sign these others as replacements’ is pure fantasy. We’ve been lumbered with quite a few contracts for players who haven’t been putting in performances worthy of them, ally this to the salary cap and the fact the sport is so small it means you can’t (and don’t) just sell players to other clubs like football can. Are we really expecting the financial backers of the club to just pay up contracts, then pay transfer fees to get others in? This sport just doesn’t work like that on a medium to large scale.

We’ve had 3 games under our new coach. If you were expecting Ian Millward style panache straight away I’d ask you to temper your expectations – even Earlestown wasn’t built in a day, even though it looks like it. Holbrook has to integrate the way he wants to play with the players he has at his disposal. Thumping Hull and a morale boosting win against Wigan hasn’t changed who is in the squad; these 2 wins haven’t made them world beaters so why expect them to be?

If we look at the league leaders – Castleford are playing the salary cap perfectly. They have a great squad with several options in each position, they’re obviously well coached with a good ethos at the club. Anyone expecting us to go to Cas and give them a good hiding has a very short memory. Yes they’d rested players but they seemingly have the right attitude at the club. One which hopefully Holbrook and his team can instil at the Saints.

Justin Holbrook was quite positive post-match Sunday – but I’m not fussed what he says to fans, as long as he doesn’t treat us like idiots. Our previous coach had his favourite soundbites: the grind, middles and so on. He tended to drop players in it with the press, the first that came to mind was him hanging 2 young halfbacks out to dry, his conferences were naïve and he no doubt said too much that could have been left behind closed doors. If Holbrook is positive towards us on the outside, saying a lot without saying too much, but rips players a new one behind closed doors I don’t care. All I want is for him to manage the squad properly.

In this world of instant gratification we can’t hammer the team then expect the same players to march up the league and win everything on offer. Reflect on your past thoughts and take your mind back to April. We’re heading in the right direction.

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