Justin Holbrook has admitted their enforced week off has allowed his St Helens group to refresh ahead of the final seven weeks of the season.
The club’s absence from the Challenge Cup Final gave them a week without a fixture for the first time in over two months.
While Holbrook was keen to stress he’d rather have been a part of the Wembley Weekend, he accepted the rest had given both the coaching staff and the playing group a much-needed chance to get rid of fatigue that had started to kick in.
It’s left Holbrook and his players feeling refreshed heading into the final rounds of the season, which could see Saints pick up two trophies, starting with the League Leaders’ Shield tonight should they defeat Wigan.
“The break was forced upon us but it has been very beneficial,” he said.
“Not just for coaches but the players too. In the Challenge Cup semi-final we saw signs, mentally and physically, that we were fatigued. We were really tired as a group but we’ve been able to really freshen up and concentrate on the run-in. It’s been really important.
“It’s been great for the players. They play a lot of games in a very physical sport. It gave them a week to not take the bumps and bruises and also mentally too. I think mentally we showed signs of fatigue. When you make some dumb, unforced errors it’s usually mental fatigue.”
For Holbrook himself, the rest has given him a chance to assess the season so far.
Keen to avoid reminiscing on the success they’ve enjoyed so far, instead, Holbrook admitted he used the time off to consider his approach to the campaign, and how he can ensure it ends with silverware in the trophy cabinet.
“I reflect on what we’ve done so far, how we’ve gone about it and what’s worked and what hasn’t worked.
“Definitely, as a coach a rest gives you clear focus when you have a week where you aren’t worried about the opposition and getting bogged down with video. It just gives you a chance to clear your own head. It’s amazing what two or three days can do for you. You don’t need more than a few days. I couldn’t wait to come back to work.
“I love coaching, I love being at work. Even if you just have two days after the game it feels different and is refreshing.”