Kristian Woolf backs Paul Wellens to be a success if given St Helens opportunity

Josh McAllister
Kristian Woolf Paul Wellens

Departing St Helens boss Kristian Woolf has backed Paul Wellens to be a success if given the vacant head coaching role at the club for 2023. 

Woolf, 47, will link up with Dolphins for their inaugural NRL season in 2023 as assistant coach, working under Wayne Bennett.

With the aim of finishing his Super League career with another trophy with a semi-final place confirmed, Woolf says he would back assistant coach Wellens to be a success if given the chance.

Wellens, 42, played 495 times for the club and is widely accepted as one of the club’s greatest ever players. He won 18 major honours for St Helens before retiring in 2015. The former full-back then joined the club’s backroom staff, making his way to assistant under Woolf.

READ: Paul Wellens targets head coach role, inspired by “Rain Man” Woolf

Woolf backs Paul Wellens as successor

“100% I’d back Paul Wellens,” Woolf told Love Rugby League.

“At the end of the day the club has to make a decision there. That’s not my decision to make. But what I can do is talk about what I see in Paul Wellens as a coach.

“First and foremost, he’s a terrific person. He’s an honest person and a trustworthy person. That’s strengths that you need in a coach and a good coach because that’s the kind of people players want to trust and play for because they know they can do exactly that, and that’s trust.

“As a football coach, he’s very knowledgable. He’s had great experience and he’s worked under some really good coaches here. I’m not talking about myself here, I’m talking about people he’s worked with before I arrived.

“He was a good coach when I arrived, that’s for sure. I’d like to think that I helped in some ways, but he was already a good coach. He’s worked with people like Wayne Bennett, Shaun Wane and he’s had some terrific coaches as a player that’s he’s taken plenty of things from. 

“The biggest wrap I can give him in terms of a person who I think has all the attributes to be a coach, he thinks about the game a little bit different.

“He’s got his own ideas and philosophies about how the game should be played and what’s important in the game.

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‘I’d endorse him 100%’

“He gives me some of those and certainly questions me and throws ideas at me. Some of those we run with. And sometimes I’ve got to say no I feel different and we go a different way.

“What I know is that given the opportunity, he’s going to come in with his own ideas. He’s going to come in and make what he sees as improvements.

“I couldn’t wrap him enough. He’s certainly been one of, if not the, best assistants that I’ve ever been able to work with and I’ve worked with a lot of people in Australia.

“If the club was thinking about going and looking in Australia for an assistant coach, I don’t think they’ll find anything better than what’s sitting in front of them.

“I’d endorse him 100%. It’s not my decision, but that’s certainly how I feel.”

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