Champions St Helens are back into the grind of pre-season as they prepare for the defence of their title and Head Coach Kristian Woolf has given an update to Saints TV addressing what it was like to be back, how the new signings are settling in as well as any injury worries faced by the Saints at this moment in time.
The Saints are chasing an unprecedented fourth consecutive Super League title in 2022 topping the three in a row achieved by Leeds at Saints’ expense from 2007 to 2009.
The Champions are well placed to do so with the core of the side who won the last three Grand Finals still firmly intact and complimented by exciting youngsters like Lewis Dodd and Jack Welsby as well as major off season recruits from down under and from Super League rivals.
However, there are those who have their doubts following the exit of Theo Fages to Huddersfield and Lachlan Coote to Hull KR. That said, the smiles seen at St Helens in the first week of pre-season demonstrates the confidence of the squad as well as the positivity at the Totally Wicked Stadium which could very well fire Saints to more success next season.
In his interview with Saints TV, Woolf noted this positivity and just how nice it was to be back together with his squad: “It was great to get a good break and get a bit of time off. Great to come back in this morning and see the majority of the blokes back. Everyone looks really fresh and everyone looks like they’ve looked after themselves really well and look really happy to be back. It was great to see everyone.”
He also provided a brief update on how the new signings are settling in. The Saints have brought in Will Hopoate, Curtis Sironen and Joey Lussick from the NRL as well as James Bell from relegated Leigh. Meanwhile, they have also acquired the services of Konrad Hurrell following his departure from rivals Leeds.
Speaking about the new recruits, Woolf said: “They’ve started really well. They’ve done three sessions now and have come in with a great attitude and all look really happy to be here. All look nice and fit as well.”
St Helens’ new signings will no doubt be key to the success the club is chasing in 2022, but even more important will be keeping their squad injury free. Some might call it luck, others will say it’s a sign of the Champion like attention to detail at St Helens, but Saints haven’t faced too many injuries in recent seasons and that will need to continue if they want to secure a fourth consecutive Super League title.
Woolf subsequently addressed the injury situation at the club in his interview: “There’s a couple of blokes who have little niggles and things like that and they’ve worked on them over the off-season. They won’t necessarily start back into everything but the majority of the squad are doing everything and those guys who have a couple of little things they’re certainly doing the majority of it. Morgan Knowles is the only bloke in rehab coming off surgery after his game for England at the end of the year and he’ll join the group fully just after Christmas.”
When asked if Knowles will be fit for the start of the season, Woolf said: “He will be.”