St Helens boss Kristian Woolf reveals strong opinion on Super League promotion and relegation

St Helens head coach Kristian Woolf is a wanted man in rugby league.

After impressing greatly in his time at the Totally Wicked Stadium – where he has won two Grand Finals and a Challenge Cup – the rugby league coaching world was beckoning.

The news finally broke that the Australian would be heading back to Queensland with the Dolphins – the NRL’s newest side in 2023.

That being said, Woolf has revealed that there were other conversations about potential jobs elsewhere, but he didn’t want to go into depth about who they might have been and was instead firmly focused on working under veteran coach Wayne Bennett.

“I did have other conversations but that’s not something I would like to go into. Those conversations are something between me and them. I could have looked at other things,” Woolf said.

“He (Bennett) is the greatest coach of all time if you look at his record, it means it will be a success and pretty quickly.”

At Saints, Woolf has not had much chance to test himself against the best of the NRL, with just one World Club Challenge game against the Sydney Roosters back in 2020.

And, the Tonga national boss wanted the concept to continue in 2022.

“We wanted to do it. We made that really clear and our thinking hasn’t changed. I understand why it wasn’t possible, there was no us being called out or trying to portray we didn’t want to, it wasn’t possible.

“Questions were asked from our club but they weren’t answered so to speak. I think the reality was that what was happening at the start of the year I don’t think I was ever going to happen.”

In terms of the Super League structure itself, the Saints head coach has a strong opinion on promotion and relegation.

“I understand the appeal of promotion and relegation, it’s part of the British culture in football so I can understand that,” Woolf said.

“I think at times it holds us back a little bit as you recruit one way to get through a Championship competition to come up and then that recruitment and position is very different in trying to sustain a Super League club.

“We need to give Toulouse an opportunity for more than 12 months, the longer you’ve got in Super League with the assurances you’ve got in Super League, the more they will be come a competitive team.”

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