Holbrook praises Percival influence as Saints win his first game in charge

St Helens coach Justin Holbrook praised both the influence of centre Mark Percival and the atmosphere of his first game in charge of the club as they beat arch-rivals Wigan in a thrilling derby contest.

Two late tries from Percival helped the Saints fight back to beat the Warriors 22-19 in Holbrook’s first official game in charge on Thursday night.

And the Australian admitted he was bowled over by the ferocious atmosphere.

He said: “It was an awesome atmosphere. To have the two sets of fans singing the whole game, the players are so lucky to be running out in these type of games.

“It was good tough old game and, although neither side were fantastic, I knew how big a game it was and how much it means to both clubs.”

Holbrook was also delighted with Percival’s performance.

He said: “For us to find a way to win, I’m rapped. I thought we did well to be that close at half-time. We were just hanging in there and we were a bit all over the shop with the ball in the second half but we kept turning up in defence.

“And for Percy to come with that big play was awesome. He didn’t get a lot of ball but he stayed patient and came up with two massive plays, he was probably the difference in the end.

“To experience a win like that when we don’t play well can only help the group.”