Woolf surprised by Hardaker ‘goal kick’ decision moments before Saints’ late win

A jubilant Kristian Woolf was unsurprisingly delighted with his team and the result as St Helens claimed a last-gasp 8-4 Grand Final victory over Wigan.

Jack Welsby’s opportunist try after the hooter saw Saints defend their Super League crown in the most incredible circumstances, with the 19-year-old centre pouncing after Tommy Makinson’s drop-goal attempt hit the post.

However just a minute before the late winner, Wigan’s Zak Hardaker had a long-range attempt at goal to win the game after a penalty was awarded for offside.

Speaking on Hardaker’s attempt, which fell both short and wide of the posts, Saints boss Woolf admitted he was relieved they went for the two points rather than kick for touch.

“I thought Zak took a bit of a punt there if I am to be honest,” Woolf admitted.

“It was a long way out, not directly in front either and I was a little surprised they took that option.

“I thought they might have kicked for touch and had a crack at us.

“When I saw him lining up for the goal, I was actually quite pleased.

“Full credit to Zak for backing himself, he is a very good player and I have been very impressed with him.

“But, it gave us an opportunity and our blokes were good enough to take it.”

Speaking on the blood and thunder game as an overall spectacle, Woolf admired both team’s effort and saved special praise for match-winner Welsby.

He added: “It was outstanding work by young Jack Welsby. To chase that down and to compete on every play.

“They are things we talk about doing all the time. Playing to the last minute.

“All that stuff that we preach all the time and to do that and actually get a result off the back of what we did and Jack deserves a massive amount of credit.

“It was an outstanding play. I really am proud of kid to be able to get that result in the Grand Final at this level.

“I am also proud for the group too. They fought all the way, and it was a great game of footy and I do not know if you will get a better game in terms of quality.

“Both teams were really good defensively and they both showed that tonight.

“It was really hard to find points. You just had to take your opportunities when they came and Jack did that.”