Kristian Woolf supports crackdown on head contact

Kristian Woolf

St Helens head coach Kristian Woolf says he is supportive of the way the game is evolving regarding illegal challenges and their punishments.

Three players saw red cards in the opening weekend of Super League.

Dylan Napa became the first player of the year to be sent from the field. The Catalans forward was dismissed for a high shot on Mark Percival.

Gil Dudson also received a yellow card in the opening tackle of the game. He has received a three-match ban.

Elsewhere, James Bentley and Jake Connor were also shown red cards for their games against Warrington and Wakefield respectively.

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Kristian Woolf supports red card decisions

Woolf, like Hull KR boss Tony Smith, is a coach who supports the crackdown on the illegal challenges.

When asked about the red cards during his pre-match press conference, Woolf replied: “It’s no surprise whatsoever. Paul Cullen of the match review committee has offered plenty of times to go around to every club.

“He’s come to our club and made it really clear that contact with the head, late contact, and particularly if it’s late and high, and punches are going to be viewed on harsher than what they have in the past. 

“I support the way we’re going there.”

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Woolf believes new changes won’t impact game

The St Helens boss believes that despite the rules, the game remains as tough as it’s ever been.

His side face Hull FC live on Channel 4 this Saturday, with both sides looking to maintain their 100% record start to the campaign.

“A lot of people will try to sort of paint a picture of the game not being as tough nowadays as it used to be. That’s not true,” said Woolf. 

“It’s just every bit as tough now as what it’s ever been. The physicality hasn’t changed, the toughness hasn’t changed. 

“What has changed is what’s acceptable in terms of what used to be considered okay. But now it’s considered dirty play. 

Woolf supports rules to protect players

“The reason there are changes is a much better understanding now about how we protect players and how we look after players, particularly around head injuries. 

“What we can’t get away from is the fact that it’s players from the eras that when those sorts of things were okay, are the ones that are holding the game to account nowadays and doing that through litigations. 

“So the game has to change. We’ve all got to change our attitudes. We’ve all got to adjust with it. It’s all to protect players. 

“Therefore, I’m supportive of it.”

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About Josh McAllister 1711 Articles
Journalist. Joined the Love Rugby League team full time at the start of 2022 having been a freelance reporter for several years. Previously media manager for Swinton and Rochdale.


  1. mister wolf what do you think for the punch of matautia in the final?
    red card and 3 matchs aldo dodson or 1 match amical and nothing
    your remark is a shame
    the samesanction for all clubs

      • for me yellow card maloney and red card matautia
        the saints are protect for the referre and the commission
        it is a reality
        a player of the saint matinson u think touch the genitals the last year 3 match joel tomkins 8 match
        this difference of sanction is not good for super league

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