New St Helens Head Coach Kristian Woolf has said there is not a lot of need for change at the club.
The Australian addressed the media for the first time yesterday at the Totally Wicked Stadium after arriving in the UK last week.
He takes over in the Saints hot seat from Justin Holbrook, who guided the club to a record points total and Grand Final glory last season.
Unsurprisingly, with few outgoings from the team, Woolf is reluctant to make wholesale changes to a squad that is already established and has all the ingredients to be successful.
“One thing coming into the club l identified really early is that there is not a lot of need for change,” he told the media.
“There is not a lot of need for change to staff, to the playing roster and the way things were in the past. That’s shown by the success of the club in 2019.
“At the same time, we need to find ways to improve. In terms of staff, I will bring something myself in terms of my own style of coaching and personality.
“It is something the players are getting used to at the moment and the players have to find something more in themselves to be better as well.
“That doesn’t necessarily mean we have to change the clientele to be better, we can find ways to improve with what we have here.
“At the moment I am happy with the squad. If we feel the need to add to it, then we can see if it’s a possibility, but we have a squad I believe can do better than in 2019 and if we do that, we will be hard to beat.”
Will the style of play change?
Woolf has recently guided Tonga to historic victories over Great Britain and Australia and has been praised for his attacking approach.
However, it seems that the 44-year-old won’t be drastically changing the way Saints, with their fast free-flowing style already suited to the way he likes to play the game.
“The players will be given free rein to express themselves. I’m very aware the club had a history of attacking rugby league and that is what we will continue to do.
“I’ll certainly make slight alterations to things attacking-wise, but its not a club I need to make a lot of changes to.
“But I will be looking to improve things with and without the ball. The best example I can give, is to look at the squad and allow them to play to their strengths, whilst also giving them things to improve.
“You can look at what we did with Tonga. We gave them free rein to attack and use their skill level, which was focussed around second phase play and offloads.
“It worked well against Great Britain and Australia and the approach will be similar here. Allowing players to play to their strengths and attack.
“That doesn’t take away our need to defend. Defence wins comps, but so does scoring points so we will try to do both.”
His first game will be on January 31 against the side they beat in last year’s Grand Final, Salford Red Devils.
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