17/04/2024

Kristian Woolf has decided to leave St Helens at the end of the year to return to Australia. (Photo: Love Rugby League)

St Helens head coach Kristian Woolf has decided to call time on his Betfred Super League coaching career to return back to home country of Australia.

Arriving at St Helens at the start of their 2020 rugby league campaign, Woolf has been able to accomplish a 80 per cent win ratio as their head coach. Earning back-to-back titles in his first two years as coach, he will be hard for the team to let go.

In 2020 he steered the club to second in the regular season and was able to defeat the Wigan Warriors 8-4 in the Grand Final. The following year they finished second again behind the Catalans Dragons. They would go head-to-head in the Grand Final, with St Helens outlasting them to win 12-10.

“I have been here for three years and I have loved every minute of it,” Woolf said.

“I love the club and what it has provided for both me and my family. The fans have been great with me, the passion they show and the way they support the Club is terrific.

“It has been a privilege to work with this exceptional group of men who are all extremely driven and worked so hard to achieve the success they have.”

Before coaching St Helens, Woolf made an impact coaching Tonga. He was able to improve its world rankings from 14th to second, guiding the nation to the semi-finals in the 2017 Rugby League World Cup. This included a surprise win against the New Zealand Kiwis.

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“This has not been an easy decision for myself or my family, but it’s time for us to return home,” Woolf said.

“We made a decision a little while ago due to personal factors that have played their part in our decision. The timing has also combined with an opportunity that has arisen in Australia.”

Despite a loss in the previous round against Wakefield Trinity, he has helped St Helens claim top spot on the ladder. Woolfe will be hoping to win yet another premiership for the club.

If he is able to secure another Grand Final win, he will be the first coach in Super League history to lead a team to victory three years in a row. Woolf will now join coaching legend Wayne Bennett at the Redcliffe Dolphins, where he will be an assistant coach.

“The hardest thing is having to leave an exceptional group who buy into what you want them to do and are great players and people,” Woolf said.

“What I love about them is how they compete and have a relentless attitude every week. That is extremely hard to say goodbye to.

“They have all helped me become a better coach and whilst I am returning back home, my complete focus is ensuring I play my small part in helping this group achieve success this season.”

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