Justin Holbrook on selection criticism as key stars set to return against Halifax

Justin Holbrook has defended his decision to rest numerous key players ahead of this week’s Challenge Cup semi-final.

The Saints coach left out the vast majority of his leading stars for their defeat to London, which moved the Broncos level on points with Leeds and Hull Kingston Rovers at the bottom of Super League.

Some have criticised Holbrook for damaging the integrity of the competition, with the Broncos now picking up four points against the league leaders this season.

However, Holbrook insists he did what was best for his club.

“It’s a tough position because I can’t think about everybody else,” he said.

“I can only think about what is best for us. I said leading into the game we played second-placed Warrington at home, third-placed Hull FC away and fourth-placed Wigan, our biggest rivals, three weeks in a row.

“We had a lot of bumps and bruises and the effort those games had taken was huge. We’ve got to try and freshen them up mentally and physically and give the young guys opportunities. The timing of it all pointed to giving those guys a chance to freshen up.

“I don’t want to cause a drama, but for us, it’s the best thing that’s right for us.”

All of Saints’ top stars are expected to feature on Saturday against Championship part-timers Halifax, though Lachlan Coote looks set to be an exception as he deals with a knee problem.