Kristian Woolf is on course to land himself some personal history in his final game as St Helens coach as he looks to become the first coach to win three consecutive Grand Finals as the Saints look to win an unprecedented four on the bounce.
Woolf’s men will meet Leeds in the decider next week after beating Salford in what the Saints boss felt was “a very tough game” but felt his side’s performance and attitude was the key to victory especially in the way they started with such intensity: “It was a very tough game. I’m really proud of our blokes. We played great, we started great with a great intensity and put them under a lot of pressure.
“But to their credit they stayed in the game and at 13-12 it was a real contest.
“I’m really proud of our blokes, we were never going to lose that we just kept fighting.
“We knew we had to start with a great intensity, it’s a semi-final. Our biggest strength is the intensity we can start with and how long we can play at it. We finished with it as well.”
He couldn’t say enough positive things about his side’s attitude in tough moments with the Saints twice going down to 12 men and also holding a one point lead for a spell: “We get challenged, they stay in the fight, we keep fighting. We were down to 12 men twice, we conceded a try we were a bit disappointed with but other than we were outstanding with 12 men which is why this group is so good.”
What makes this even more impressive is the injury struggles Saints have had with the Champions training with 16 players recently according to Woolf: “We’ve had to do it different this year. We’ve had to deal with so many players unavailable doing training sessions with 16, 17 men at the minute and naming just 20.
“We’ve got the class to beat anyone and the toughness and resilience to stay in the fight.”
In terms of next week’s Grand Final, it is this attitude that Woolf believes will be key to securing victory against Leeds Rhinos.
“I know they’ll give their absolute best, we’ve just got to enjoy the week. Grand Final weeks are busy weeks but are great weeks, and we’ve just got to enjoy it.
“We’ve been there four years in a row and it feels a bit normal but it isn’t the norm.”