Following St Helens’ victory over Leeds on Saturday to secure a fourth consecutive Super League title, attentions have now turned to who will be the next man in the hot seat at the 10-time Champions.
Under Kristian Woolf, Saints have become an unstoppable force. After a shaky start to his tenure in 2020, the Australian recovered to guide the club to three Super League titles, a Challenge Cup and a League Leaders’ Shield.
It leaves the next man to take over with a huge job on his hands to replicate that success, however speaking on Sky Sports, former Great Britain international and now Sky pundit Phil Clarke believes the role should go to Paul Wellens.
Wellens has been no.2 to Woolf throughout Saints’ recent run of dominance, something that Clarke believes the club will want to carry on with the foundations already in place.
“The reason St Helens have been so successful is because Wellens has been part of that,” said Clarke. “He has consistent actions day in, day out, along with good behaviours.
“I think the club of St Helens, well you talk about culture in sport which is about doing the right thing more often than not, and they have done remarkably well.
“You know you have to work very hard to win one Grand Final, you need a degree of luck to win a second consecutive one, but you have to have a club built on incredibly strong foundations, staffed with a team of passionate and talented people to win four years in a row.
“You can’t win repeated competitions by just having the best first team, you have to have the best club. And St Helens clearly, from top to bottom, are the best club in rugby league, and a big part of that is the coaching team they already have in place.”
Speaking about matters on the pitch, Clarke also believes the reason for Saints’ run of success is not an overcomplicated one.
“In a salary cap sport, to do what they have done is an amazing achievement,” he said. “I don’t think they play much different to other teams, they just play at a greater intensity and other teams have been unable to cope with that.
“They have trained themselves and disciplined themselves to blow people away and that’s the test every time they play. How long can they keep doing that?”