St Helens boss Kristian Woolf speaks about NRL return rumours as speculation mounts

The Saints head coach has been linked with NRL newcomers the Dolphins for 2023.

<p>Kristian Woolf has been linked with a return to Australia. </p>

Kristian Woolf has been linked with a return to Australia.

Trophy-winning Saints head coach Kristian Woolf admitted this week that his future is not ‘cemented yet’ amid growing speculation that he will be heading back to Australia at the end of the World Cup

The 46-year-old St Helens and Tongan international boss, whose contract at the Totally Wicked Stadium runs out at the end of this year, has been linked with NRL newcomers the Dolphins for 2023 but at this stage he is keeping his cards close to his chest.

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He told Saints’ weekly press conference: “Too be honest, it is something I don’t want to talk about at this moment in time. I understand there is speculation about my future both in this country and in Australia but for me to be worried about it now would be disrespectful to my current group of players.

“I’m 100% committed to them and believe we can achieve something special again this year.’’

Kristian Woolf

Wolf added: “This is where my focus and attention will now be and I know we have a playing group capable of that. We’ve had some hardship, injuries and lost players for the season but I’ve got faith in this group in what we can do.”

Saints make the short journey to Warrington Wolves on Thursday night and will be hoping to retain top spot in the Betfred Super League against rivals who, under the management of former Castleford head coach Daryl Powell, have hardly pulled up many trees this year and currently lie eighth in the table.

Regan Grace is still missing from the squad and his only 80 minutes came in the Challenge Cup victory at Whitehaven.

Woolf said: “I know there are question marks over how long Regan has been absent, but there have been a few complications and a bit more significant an injury than first diagnosed.

“It was really important to give him extra time to get things right and ensure he is bulletproof before he comes back.

“I’m very comfortable with where he sits and what impact he will have on his return.”

Woolf also confirmed that Hopoate will be back in contention for the fixture at Toulouse on Saturday, June 4.

Several Saints’ players are out of contract at the end of the season and the head coach will shortly reveal who stays and who goes with Konrad Hurrell already revealing he would like to remain at the Totally Wicked Stadium.