Kristian Woolf insists Great Britain losses not a reflection on Super League
St Helens coach Kristian Woolf insists Great Britain’s failure Down Under does not reflect the standard of Super League – and his new side can prove it in the World Club Challenge.
Super League champions Saints host their Australian counterparts Sydney Roosters in February to give Woolf his first chance of silverware.
The 44-year-old was in charge of the Tonga team that beat both Great Britain and Australia this autumn, before heading to England to succeed Justin Holbrook.
Woolf hopes to continue his international duty alongside his Saints commitments – and believes the Lions’ four straight defeats don’t represent how good Super League is.
He said: “Great Britain not performing hasn’t got anything to do with the competition over here in terms of the standard.
“I’ve watched a lot of Super League and it’s a very good standard. It’s very similar to the NRL when the top teams go at each other.
“It’s different and there are traits in the way it is played here, but part of being a good coach is being able to adjust.
“The Great Britain team weren’t as successful as they hoped to be but look back at last year, England was very successful (against New Zealand) as they were at the World Cup. I certainly don’t think the standard of players or competition should be judged on one series.”
Woolf’s sees the clash with Sydney Roosters on Saturday February 22 as the perfect opportunity to reinforce his opinion.
He said: “That adds not pressure, but puts a bit of emphasis on us to be really competitive.
“We’re certainly going to go into the game wanting to win, and internally at least, it gives us a little bit more motivation to compete really well.
“The Roosters have been the benchmark in the NRL certainly over the last couple of years, them and Melbourne for the last 10 years. It’s a terrific opportunity for us to show where we do sit on the word scale.”
The former Newcastle Knights assistant – who worked under ex-Saints boss Nathan Brown there – also accepts that following the club’s dominant 2019 Super League campaign does add pressure.
Woolf added: “I’m coming into a side that’s just won the title. It’s big shoes to fill and adds a little bit of pressure and expectation to the role.
“I’m very aware of that but it didn’t change anything from my point of view. I knew the club has a history and an expectation of success, that’s only going to continue – I’m here to be a part of that success.”
St Helens chief executive Mike Rush confirmed that talks over a pre-season friendly with Salford in Valencia remain on-going.
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