St Helens coach Kristian Woolf has admitted that, having now got his feet under the table at the Totally Wicked Stadium he doesn’t expect to bring in any new players this season, with his main goal being to improve his current crop of players.
The defending Betfred Super League champions are the only team not to have strengthened in the off-season, and while Woolf says there is scope to sign players, he is more interested in working with the team he has now.
“We have the ability to bring someone in if we need to,” said Woolf.
“But I look at the squad, and what they were able to do last year, and I still think there is a lot of improvement in it. And for that reason we don’t feel we need to bring anyone in. If we can find some improvement in the current group then we are going to be pretty competitive.”
Woolf admits that he has already been made aware that beating Wigan is high on the agenda from the St Helens supporters.
“I’ve had a number of fans mention that straightaway (how important the Wigan game is) and I’ve certainly got that message loud and clear. Plenty of our fans have told me that they want to beat Wigan and win some trophies as well, so there’s no pressure at all.”
Despite that pressure, however, he has settled well into life in England and at the club.
“I’ve been here a little while now,” he added.
“In the playing group we have a real good group of people. For what they achieved last year, there is a real humble side to the group and that includes the leaders and high-profile players. The coaching staff are excellent and are really good people as well.
“The people of St Helens have been very welcoming; people quite often come up and say hello and wish us luck in terms of settling in.”
Woolf is well aware that comparisons will be made with the side coached by Justin Holbrook last season, but his main intention is getting his team to improve as a whole in what he believes will be a tough and exciting season.
“I don’t want to make any bold statements about what we are going to do. We have worked really hard and we have found some improvement in different areas. We want to show that once we start playing games.
“The competition is going to be a lot stronger, given the way other teams have recruited. I don’t think there are going to be any games this year that are going to be below par. It means we have to be better and we have to work hard and we’ll be a real target for the other teams.
“We will rise to the challenge and we have to be good enough to take on that challenge.”