St Helens boss Kristian Woolf, who is returning to Australia following the World Cup, is one of three nominees for the prestigious Betfred Super League coach of the year award and is joined on a on the shortlist by Matty Peet (Wigan Warriors) and Paul Rowley (Salford Red Devils).
Peet made the step up from the backroom team to head coach ahead of the 2022 campaign and his debut season at the helm has seen his Warriors team finish the regular season in second place, impressively unbeaten at the DW Stadium, and added another Challenge Cup to the trophy cabinet.
Named Betfred coach of the month in February, Peet’s influence on the culture and community focus at the club has been evident throughout the season with joint training sessions combining all Wigan’s elite teams as well as community and fan engagement being central to match day experiences.
Rowley has gained plenty of plaudits for the exciting, expansive style his Red Devils team have been playing in 2022.
At the start of the season many wrote Salford off as a team set to struggle, a prediction that looked destined to come true with just three victories from their first 11 matches. But Rowley defied those expectations and masterminded a run of nine victories from their last 12 matches which saw them finish the season in a play-off berth. The start of this run, in late June, coincided with Rowley being named July’s coach of the month.
Under Woolf this season, Saints have continued their dominance which has seen them lift a hat-trick of Super League trophies in the last three seasons. Despite this Grand Final dominance, 2022 is the first League Leaders’ Shield the team have claimed since 2019 and Woolf’s first as head coach.
With a potential fourth straight Grand Final title still firmly in Saints’ sights, Woolf’s men know the expectations he places on them week-in week-out to deliver the high standards that has seen them sit top of the league table for much of the season.
Woolf’s use of the senior player group, which include skipper James Roby, Alex Walmsley, Tommy Makinson and Jonny Lomax, will ensure some of the younger generation in the club set-up squad will receive the perfect grounding.
The coach of the year will be part of the Betfred Super League awards’ evening which will be held at Headingley Stadium, Leeds, on Monday, September 19. Fans can watch the ceremony on Super League’s YouTube channel from 9pm that night.