St Helens head coach Justin Holbrook set to leave Super League leaders for NRL side Gold Coast Titans

Justin Holbrook. PIC: Dave Howarth/ PA Wire.
Justin Holbrook. PIC: Dave Howarth/ PA Wire.
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The man behind St Helens rise to the top of the Betfred Super League will be leaving the runaway league leaders at the end of the season.

Head coach Justin Holbrook has agreed to join NRL side Gold Coast Titans on a two-year contract starting from 2020.

St Helens reached the Challenge Cup final on Saturday with victory over part-time Halifax. PIC: Dave Howarth/PA Wire.

St Helens reached the Challenge Cup final on Saturday with victory over part-time Halifax. PIC: Dave Howarth/PA Wire.

The Saints boss joined the 2018 League Leaders' Shield winners partway through 2017 but will end his time at the club at the end of the year.

St Helens are currently 10 points clear at the top of Super League and last weekend defeated Championship side Halifax to reach the Challenge Cup final for the first time in over a decade.

The 43-year-old also guided Saints to back-to-back play-off semi-finals but failed to reach the Grand Final at Old Trafford after losses to Castleford Tigers and Warrington Wolves in 2017 and 2018 respectively.

“It has been an extremely tough decision to leave such a great club in St.Helens," said Holbrook whose side face Wakefield Trinity on Friday night.

"Since I arrived here in 2017, everyone at the club and the fans have been brilliant to myself and my family and we have loved our time here."

The Australian-born coach admitted that the club hierarchy did everything they could to keep him at the club.

But the lure of returning to his homeland to coach in the NRL was too great a prospect to turn down.

Holbrook added: "Eamonn McManus, Mike Rush and the board wanted me to stay and did everything they could, which I greatly appreciated, but an opportunity to return home to the NRL is what I feel I need to do.

"It is very difficult as the only time I would get an opportunity like that is when we are winning and doing well as a club, which makes the decision even harder for me.

“I want to pay a huge thank you to my staff who are all excellent at what they do and especially the players who make coming to work enjoyable every day.

"The main thing for me is that I know the club is in a great position moving forward.

“Finally, with a Wembley cup final coming up as well as the Super League play-offs, I want to make it clear that I am fully committed and focussed on St.Helens and I am determined to lead this great club to the success it deserves in 2019.”