A lot of the talk around St Helens at the moment surrounds the future of Kristian Woolf
The Saints boss is out of contract at the end of the current 2022 Betfred Super League season, and has yet to publicly commit to any future deal, which unsurprisingly adds to the speculation of where the 46-year-old will be in 2023.
It goes without saying, like every Saints fan out there, that I’m hoping he puts pen to paper and stays at St Helens for many years to come.
His reign so far has been unprecedented. Leading the club to two Betfred Super League titles and a Betfred Challenge Cup during his two and a half years, and is in pole position to make that a hat trick of league titles in 2022 – currently trading at 10/11 outright favourites with the title sponsors to do just that.
Kristian Woolf is a wanted man .… and frankly I’m not surprised one bit.
The Tonga boss, who is very well respected back in Australia, is in demand and being touted for a number of positions in the NRL, following a few coaching casualties this season. New Zealand Warriors and West Tigers have both been linked with Kristian following the sacking of former Saints & Wigan head coaches, Nathan Brown and Michael Maguire respectively. Canterbury have also been mentioned in the media Down Under.
The Saints fans absolutely made their feelings shown towards the boss at Thursday’s demolition of the Leeds Rhinos, with the West Stand songsters chanting his name throughout the 80 minutes …. something that wasn’t missed by the humble Woolf.
He spoke highly of the fans, and said he is wholeheartedly committed to the club and is loving what his team are doing at the moment.
Personally, I’ve got to know Kristian over the past two and a half years and he’s not just a great coach but a great bloke. He’s a straight talking, no nonsense fella, and this is something that comes over in his coaching philosophies.
The team in my eyes are the fittest, most skilful, and play with a level of intensity on both attack and defence far greater than any other team in the Betfred Super League; something clearly instilled by the coach. Let’s hope this can continue for a few more years to come!
Back to Thursday night, and I predicted a Saints win but maybe not by 30 points! I spoke previously about the level of intensity that this current Saints team play at, and after a fairly tight first half this was something that the Rhinos couldn’t sustain. Instead the visitors resorted to ill discipline, with yet again former Saint James Bentley seeing a card.
It was a former Rhino, now a Saints’ fan favourite Konrad Hurrell, who stole the show; and his second home Man of the Match in a row.
Hurrell, who crossed the whitewash twice, was also celebrating his new one year contract extension – absolutely no surprise after his season so far.
Let’s hope the big man is flying this weekend in what could be the toughest game of the season so far, as we again travel to the fourth-placed Catalans Dragons.
Always a tough trip, and any team playing against the Dragons particularly across the Channel will always raise their game. However, I’m backing the boys to do the job so I’m tipping a Saints win by 10 points or more (2/1 at Betfred).