St Helens boss Kristian Woolf will return to Australia at the end of 2022 to join the Dolphins as assistant coach under Wayne Bennett.
Woolf has already seen his last season in charge result in winning the League Leaders’ Shield, celebrating the triumph following their final regular home game of the season against Toulouse.
The 47-year-old is now just 160 minutes away from further Super League glory and a chance to win his third Grand Final with the Saints.
Of course, following the season, he will stick around in England for the World Cup in autumn as head coach of Tonga before returning home with his family.
Speaking at the Super League Dream Team launch, Love Rugby League caught up with Morgan Knowles and Jack Welsby to see how the team have responded to the news.
St Helens duo react to Woolf’s departure
“It hasn’t really been any disruption at all,” Knowles said. “Woolfy (Kristian Woolf) has been great in the time he has been over. I wish him all the best moving on.
“With the team we’ve got I’d like to think we are pretty accountable for ourselves. Hopefully the transition next year to a new coach, the team pretty much runs itself.
“There’s not much turnover I don’t think so hopefully we can continue in the form of this year.”
Knowles, 25, will go under his fourth coach at the club in 2023, having made his debut in 2015 under Keiron Cunningham.
“Firstly, Kez (Cunningham) filled me with full of confidence when I first came in and that was massive for me being a young lad.
“Justin came in and transformed the club really from where we were at. He got us back to enjoying things again and Woolfy has come in and brought in toughness and steel to us.
“We’ve always been able to score points but he’s helped the defensive side of our game.”
Woolf has continuously affirmed his commitment to St Helens, which was backed further by England international Welsby. He added: “Woolfy told us he’s fully committed for the rest of the year. We obviously knew he was going to be anyway.
“He’s been brilliant for us since he’s been here. We want to send him out on a high and there’s no better way to do that than winning the Grand Final. That’s all our focus is really.”