James Graham backs St Helens boss Kristian Woolf for reported deal

Much has been made recently about the future of St Helens head coach Kristian Woolf.

The Tonga national head coach has been one of the most successful Super League coaches in history, winning back to back Grand Finals as well as a Challenge Cup.

But, most of 2022 has been focused on his future, with a reported deal at the Dolphins being mooted which would see Woolf become assistant to Wayne Bennett before taking over as head coach in 2025.

For his former player, James Graham, the flame-haired enforcer believes it is only a matter of time before Woolf takes up an NRL job.

“I don’t want to speak about hypotheticals,” Graham said of the links to the Dolphins to Fox Sports, “[but] I think it is a matter of when not if Kristian Woolf will take over a head coaching job in the NRL.”

“It doesn’t matter who it is or what the circumstances are,” Graham continued.

“I believe he’ll have a great impact on a club and he’ll go a long way to providing a successful environment.”

Under Woolf, Saints have won two Super League titles, but it was the first which sticks in peoples’ minds.

With the Merseyside club locked at 4-4 with bitter rivals Wigan, a Tommy Makinson drop goal looked destined to go over.

That hit the post, however, Jack Welsby was on hand to dot the ball down just inches before the deadball line to hand Saints an incredible victory.

But, Graham believes that no luck was involved in that.

“He was one that always practised training for chaos,” Graham said.

“Obviously the game of rugby league can produce chaotic moments where multiple variables happen all at the same time, some you can control, some you can’t.

“All I would say is if you were to go back and look at the 2020 Grand Final and see Jack Welsby’s try, if there is one thing I can say about that it was no coincidence he was there.

“If you watch St Helens play that year and watch it closely, you’ll see that wasn’t just fortune or being in the right place at the right time. There was more to it than that.”

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