Challenge Cup final: St Helens head coach Justin Holbrook questions disallowed try
By Marc Bazeley at Wembley
Last Updated: 25/08/19 9:34pm
Justin Holbrook questioned why a possibly early try for Morgan Knowles was not checked following St Helens' 18-4 defeat to Warrington Wolves in the Challenge Cup final.
Television replays appeared to show loose forward Knowles had got the ball down over the line when the match was still scoreless, but on-field official Robert Hicks opted not to refer the call to video referee Ben Thaler and ruled it out.
Saints head coach Holbrook did not blame the defeat on the decision, but could not help feeling the match at Wembley may have gone differently if the call had gone their way.
"It was massive," Holbrook said. "We're talking about a Challenge Cup final and if you get your nose in front on a hot day it's a different game.
"You'd be filthy if that was just a regular round of Super League and to not check that - then give them six again when it came off them and six tackles later they score. I'm not trying to blame that on the game, but it does go differently.
"That's nothing away from Warrington, they don't play a part in those things. Both teams gave it absolutely everything and for us to be talking about that, we shouldn't be, but I can't get my head around it."
Saints were facing an uphill battle after the first half, trailing 12-0 at half-time to the team they had beaten three times in Super League already this year.
But although Theo Fages' unconverted try just over a quarter of an hour into the second half gave them hope of mounting a comeback, Warrington proved insurmountable in the heat.
The defeat dashed St Helens' hopes of completing a domestic treble and Holbrook was full of praise for both the effort of his side and the performance of good friend Steve Price's Wolves.
"I thought it was a thoroughly great game of rugby league, I really did," Holbrook said. "We threw everything at them during the first 20 minutes of that second half and couldn't get over the line.
"In the end we made a few errors, but we're chasing the game in 30-degree heat and it's very difficult to be chasing points late in the game where everybody is run off their feet.
"I'm extremely proud of their effort and couldn't fault anything from our end. You've got to give Warrington all the credit it the world for how they played."