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Thread: Your Take KRISTIAN WOOLF lastr 5 games.

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    In The North Stand With All The Old Folk fishy3005's Avatar
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    Woolf seems to have good body language with Walmsley, Scarsbrook and Amor. Maybe he’s more of a forwards kind of coach. From a tactical pov. Perhaps once we have a more natural 7 like Dodd in the team we will play a bit more off the cuff and the backs will see more ball. With Fages not being a natural 7 maybe he needs a bit of direction that Woolf can not provide.
    If we can continue to be a solid team in defence, throw in a natural 7 who can read the game and open up defences, maybe we will be unstoppable. Maybe not im not sure. One things for sure, their is a ton of expectation on Dodds shoulders. I like what bits of him ive seen but you never know with youngsters. Its way too early to say whether he will go Sean Long or Lee Gaskell.
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    Woolf, I believe was brought in for the big matches. Our history over the last 15 years has shown that we are a good team that can go missing when it matters. Given Woolf has coached Tonga to some of the best one off wins of all time, he seemed like a good candidate to give Saints big game temperament.

    The only concern was would our regular season form suffer and would he be capable of long term planning and tactics.

    The results have been overall good. The early seasons poor form can be attributed to the Sydney Roosters game which was a very intense game and was a superb performance given we had both Percival and Grace out. It is understandable that with the focus on the WCC the league form would suffer.

    He seems to have learned quickly from his mistakes. Remember his first idea for plugging the whole at Left centre was to put Morgan Knowles there, that lasted one game then he went to Welsby.

    One thing he must be commended on is player development. It would have been an easy choice to play Peyroux and Costello this season then get to 2021 and come up with a Daryl Powell-esk loads of excuses about the strength of his squad. Many Australia coaches go for Australian players regardless of form, how many of our former coaches would have played Paulo regardless of how poor his form was. However he has given games to Bentley, Welsby, Simm, Dodd, Smith plenty of game time when he could have turned to a more experienced players. This could well be his biggest plus point.

    As for big match temperament, Rome wasn't built in a day. The cup semi was far from a bottle job but at the same time we could have played a lot better. The Play-off semi was much more like it and the Grand Final was just a hard match to be expansive. However, there were still moment when we could have been more clinical, especially when it came to kicking in the first half. Overall, we do seem to have improved from Holbrook when we were a great team but sometimes were found to be predictable to a smart coach i.e. Steve Price.
    Last edited by Noel Cleal; 1st December 2020 at 12:08.
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    Looking at woolfes game plan and his recruitment, we are clearly going to be side that looks to dominate up front

    We will be looking to go through rather than round the opposition and rely on our forward pack and our excellent defence

    I would therefore expect us to look at a kicking 7 rather than a passing 7 to get us into field position, not looking to get into fages but that is not his strong suit

    I can see Dodd starting next year, and fages being groomed for the hooking role when roby finally retires


    I think well be successful next year again but maybe the style of rugby won't be great to watch

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noel Cleal View Post
    Woolf, I believe was brought in for the big matches. Our history over the last 15 years has shown that we are a good team that can go missing when it matters. Given Woolf has coached Tonga to some of the best one off wins of all time, he seemed like a good candidate to give Saints big game temperament.

    The only concern was would our regular season form suffer and would he be capable of long term planning and tactics.

    The results have been overall good. The early seasons poor form can be attributed to the Sydney Roosters game which was a very intense game and was a superb performance given we had both Percival and Grace out. It is understandable that with the focus on the WCC the league form would suffer.

    He seems to have learned quickly from his mistakes. Remember his first idea for plugging the whole at Left centre was to put Morgan Knowles there, that lasted one game then he went to Welsby.

    One thing he must be commended on is player development. It would have been an easy choice to my Peyroux and Costello this season then get to 2021 and come up with a Daryl Powell-esk loads of excuses about the strength of his squad. However he has given games to Bentley, Welsby, Simm, Dodd, Smith plenty of game time when he could have turned to a more experienced players. This could well be his biggest plus point.

    As for big match temperament, Rome wasn't built in a day. The cup semi was far from a bottle job but at the same time we could have played a lot better. The Play-off semi was much more like it and the Grand Final was just a hard match to be expansive. However, there were still moment when we could have been more clinical, especially when it came to kicking in the first half. Overall, we do seem to have improved from Holbrook when we were a great team but sometimes were found to be predictable to a smart coach i.e. Steve Price.
    I agree with that, it was very difficult to lose 2 attacking props and 1 attacking centre for most part of the season, two of those were world class. Only for the Covid break in the season we could have struggled further, luckily that reset kickstarted our season and it took 10 superleague games for the opposition to come up with tactics to nullify our play.

    I remember at the back end of the season Woolf mentioned he wanted some tough games and often wondered his selection for the Salford and Wigan game was his thinking around that, the tough game was always going to be the Wigan one and not the Salford one, was that his preparation for the play offs.

    For next season I hope we don't start to be critical with Dodd in the same way with Welsby, Dodd will have below par games and the fans need to factor that in when subjected to constructive criticism.

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    Quote Originally Posted by STIDDY View Post
    I agree with that, it was very difficult to lose 2 attacking props and 1 attacking centre for most part of the season, two of those were world class. Only for the Covid break in the season we could have struggled further, luckily that reset kickstarted our season and it took 10 superleague games for the opposition to come up with tactics to nullify our play.

    I remember at the back end of the season Woolf mentioned he wanted some tough games and often wondered his selection for the Salford and Wigan game was his thinking around that, the tough game was always going to be the Wigan one and not the Salford one, was that his preparation for the play offs.

    For next season I hope we don't start to be critical with Dodd in the same way with Welsby, Dodd will have below par games and the fans need to factor that in when subjected to constructive criticism.
    Hindsight is 20/20 and I don’t believe for a moment Woolf would have picked the side that he did knowing the season would end when it did. At the time with Leeds/Salford/Wigan in 8 days then Catalan/Hull/Warrington in 8 days it made most sense to target the middle games as the ‘rotation’ games.

    I’m not looking to take anything away from Woolf but I do wonder how much of an effect James Graham had off the field. There was only Makinson, Lomax, Roby and LMS left from Jammer’s first stint at the club so for all the homegrown lads we’ve got in the squad it must’ve been a huge boost. Certainly inspirational on the field, even if his body was starting to let him down, and from the way the lads talked about him he was certainly a big influence off the field as well.
    Forwards win games. The backs decide by how much.

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    In The North Stand With All The Old Folk fishy3005's Avatar
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    Bit off topic but you would have to think we’re the team to beat again in 2021. We’ve played against 2 physical teams over the past fortnight with Walmsley on 1 leg and Graham physically well well past his prime. I would like another prop adding to the squad, but even without, next season with Walmsley fit, Paasi coming in and Lees’ injury way behind him we should be top contenders.
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    Quote Originally Posted by magic superbeetle View Post
    No it wouldn’t, it would have seen us have a repeat of last years cup final.
    We were sat on their line a number of times in the first twenty minutes, I'm talking about us doing something with the ball when we're inside their twenty, not throwing it around aimlessly in the middle of the park. How would a little ingenuity and creativity close to their line have cost us the game? Would we maybe have coughed up the ball, yeah maybe. But please tell me how it would have cost us the game given that the worst that would have come out of it would have been to lose possession near their line when that's what happened anyway with poor kicks on the last tackle.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gray77 View Post
    We were sat on their line a number of times in the first twenty minutes, I'm talking about us doing something with the ball when we're inside their twenty, not throwing it around aimlessly in the middle of the park. How would a little ingenuity and creativity close to their line have cost us the game? Would we maybe have coughed up the ball, yeah maybe. But please tell me how it would have cost us the game given that the worst that would have come out of it would have been to lose possession near their line when that's what happened anyway with poor kicks on the last tackle.
    All i kept thinking in that first 20 minutes was ‘doing nothing with all this possession is going to come back to haunt us’
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    Quote Originally Posted by fishy3005 View Post
    Bit off topic but you would have to think we’re the team to beat again in 2021. We’ve played against 2 physical teams over the past fortnight with Walmsley on 1 leg and Graham physically well well past his prime. I would like another prop adding to the squad, but even without, next season with Walmsley fit, Paasi coming in and Lees’ injury way behind him we should be top contenders.
    Without a doubt, we will be favourites and rightly so. I was confident we'd win the GF a few weeks ago, and I'm confident again for next season already. I think we have a good coach (albeit with reservations over style of play) and we will win more trophies under him, and with the additions to our pack and hopefully a season of good luck fitness wise for Percival we will be the best team and should be looking to win the lot in this window that we have a group of players in their peak years. The desire to make some history and 'three-peat' as the Americans like to say should be really strong within the group, and I expect us to do well. The only sticking point is the dodgy play off system whereby even if we finish top we'll only get one life at home in the play offs, but apart from that we will be strong and should be too good for Wigan, Wire and the rest. Personally, a win at Wembley would be massive, it would put some icing on the cake for this 3-4 year stretch we've had, and we've not won the Cup for far too long.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fishy3005 View Post
    All i kept thinking in that first 20 minutes was ‘doing nothing with all this possession is going to come back to haunt us’
    And 9 times out of 10 it would have because we never looked like scoring after that opening stage and got a couple of massive slices of luck via both sets of goalposts to enable us to win.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fishy3005 View Post
    All i kept thinking in that first 20 minutes was ‘doing nothing with all this possession is going to come back to haunt us’
    That sinking feeling getting worse and worse as the game went on thinking, even with all our field position and possession, we weren’t going to score and Wigan would get a try or two and take the game. Honestly didn’t think we would win until Welsby touched that ball down.
    Forwards win games. The backs decide by how much.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Wee Waa Womble View Post
    That sinking feeling getting worse and worse as the game went on thinking, even with all our field position and possession, we weren’t going to score and Wigan would get a try or two and take the game. Honestly didn’t think we would win until Welsby touched that ball down.
    Me too mate. The last time i can recall being so nervous for an entire game was probably the 1999 final against Bradford when they were all over us and we just clung on until the end.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gray77 View Post
    Without a doubt, we will be favourites and rightly so. I was confident we'd win the GF a few weeks ago, and I'm confident again for next season already. I think we have a good coach (albeit with reservations over style of play) and we will win more trophies under him, and with the additions to our pack and hopefully a season of good luck fitness wise for Percival we will be the best team and should be looking to win the lot in this window that we have a group of players in their peak years. The desire to make some history and 'three-peat' as the Americans like to say should be really strong within the group, and I expect us to do well. The only sticking point is the dodgy play off system whereby even if we finish top we'll only get one life at home in the play offs, but apart from that we will be strong and should be too good for Wigan, Wire and the rest. Personally, a win at Wembley would be massive, it would put some icing on the cake for this 3-4 year stretch we've had, and we've not won the Cup for far too long.
    A cup win would be nice. I sometimes wonder how we feel about the cup as a club. Is it financially worth winning the cup? Is Mcmanus arsed about it? Im just thinking out loud. A club as good as this should have won the cup more recently than 2008. Has it become a mental thing? We seem to save some of our shattest performances for the cup.
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    Quote Originally Posted by fishy3005 View Post
    All i kept thinking in that first 20 minutes was ‘doing nothing with all this possession is going to come back to haunt us’
    That was my worry when sat watching it. The only saving grace was the work Wigan had to do tackling.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Belgian Saint View Post
    That was my worry when sat watching it. The only saving grace was the work Wigan had to do tackling.
    It was the strangest game to watch mate. Throughout the game i thought we looked better than them. Even with Walmsley on one leg and Graham tired wigan always looked the more likely to crack because we looked so dominant and in control. Full credit to Wigan they never did crack but it always looked like we would eventually crack them. Even when Wigan found space on the edges our scramble defence never looked too worried. To me, it looked like we were a class above.
    I think thats why some of us are so concerned about our attack. We could have lost that final and it would have been a travesty. We should have had the game won in the first 20 minutes.
    Maybe im not giving wigan enough credit, but im just calling it as i see it. They haven’t improved all that much under Lam. They have some promising youngsters but still, i think they have seriously overachieved this season.

    Oh, and Hardakers shyte
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    Quote Originally Posted by fishy3005 View Post
    It was the strangest game to watch mate. Throughout the game i thought we looked better than them. Even with Walmsley on one leg and Graham tired wigan always looked the more likely to crack because we looked so dominant and in control. Full credit to Wigan they never did crack but it always looked like we would eventually crack them. Even when Wigan found space on the edges our scramble defence never looked too worried. To me, it looked like we were a class above.
    I think thats why some of us are so concerned about our attack. We could have lost that final and it would have been a travesty. We should have had the game won in the first 20 minutes.
    Maybe im not giving wigan enough credit, but im just calling it as i see it. They haven’t improved all that much under Lam. They have some promising youngsters but still, i think they have seriously overachieved this season.

    Oh, and Hardakers shyte
    I fully agree. One thing that stood out for me was the defence from Grace. He took every high ball and defended like a brick wall, the only time they looked like getting past him is when he was left to mark two men. I have many concerns about our attack and don't want to put Theo down, because he is a gutsy little player. But I hope he starts to feed Dodd into games, we need more variation from 7 and allow Lomax to not be the only option from 7. Would also like to see the use of Theo/ Smith to spell Roby. We really need him for the big games.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Belgian Saint View Post
    I fully agree. One thing that stood out for me was the defence from Grace. He took every high ball and defended like a brick wall, the only time they looked like getting past him is when he was left to mark two men. I have many concerns about our attack and don't want to put Theo down, because he is a gutsy little player. But I hope he starts to feed Dodd into games, we need more variation from 7 and allow Lomax to not be the only option from 7. Would also like to see the use of Theo/ Smith to spell Roby. We really need him for the big games.
    Yeh i agree regarding Fages. I like him. He’s gutsy and works hard. He reminds me of Thomas Leuluia in that he’s small but tough and like Leuluia he will always divide opinion as to what is his best position. As i said in another thread, Fages is definitely good enough for a top team. I hope we can keep him in some capacity. Maybe hooker is where his future is.
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    Quote Originally Posted by fishy3005 View Post
    Fages is definitely good enough for a top team. I hope we can keep him in some capacity. Maybe hooker is where his future is.
    Been wondering that myself. Also agree with Belgian re Grace. His defensive play has improved enormously as he's matured.

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    I to would like to see Dodd given more game time,but i do fear people are expecting a lot to much from him right now. Especially when we seem to play to a game plan of turn the 2nd row inside and kick to corners to limit field position. I think a lot of people are expecting that all of a sudden we are going to rip teams apart out wide,but that won't be the case with the way we play.

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    Quote Originally Posted by brook View Post
    I to would like to see Dodd given more game time,but i do fear people are expecting a lot to much from him right now. Especially when we seem to play to a game plan of turn the 2nd row inside and kick to corners to limit field position. I think a lot of people are expecting that all of a sudden we are going to rip teams apart out wide,but that won't be the case with the way we play.
    I should imagine we would have a few more set plays that a natural scrum half can execute, something like switch plays and run arounds, we would expect a better short kicking game which has been a weakness for 2 seasons now. Dodd made 39 tackles in the Salford game so I should imagine his defence would be better than when Richardson played, Dodd will be targeted though so he will need a minder coming from a pack member.

    If Dodd gets around 6 to 8 games next season the lad I reckon (from his podcast) will be happy with that, same goes for Simm and Welsby.

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    Quote Originally Posted by brook View Post
    I to would like to see Dodd given more game time,but i do fear people are expecting a lot to much from him right now. Especially when we seem to play to a game plan of turn the 2nd row inside and kick to corners to limit field position. I think a lot of people are expecting that all of a sudden we are going to rip teams apart out wide,but that won't be the case with the way we play.
    I don't think anyone expects that but we're all hoping we'll be more expansive. I don't expect to see much of it early season mind.

    Quote Originally Posted by STIDDY View Post
    I should imagine we would have a few more set plays that a natural scrum half can execute, something like switch plays and run arounds, we would expect a better short kicking game which has been a weakness for 2 seasons now. Dodd made 39 tackles in the Salford game so I should imagine his defence would be better than when Richardson played, Dodd will be targeted though so he will need a minder coming from a pack member.

    If Dodd gets around 6 to 8 games next season the lad I reckon (from his podcast) will be happy with that, same goes for Simm and Welsby.
    Knowles or Bentley are perfect for that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by STIDDY View Post
    I should imagine we would have a few more set plays that a natural scrum half can execute, something like switch plays and run arounds, we would expect a better short kicking game which has been a weakness for 2 seasons now. Dodd made 39 tackles in the Salford game so I should imagine his defence would be better than when Richardson played, Dodd will be targeted though so he will need a minder coming from a pack member.

    If Dodd gets around 6 to 8 games next season the lad I reckon (from his podcast) will be happy with that, same goes for Simm and Welsby.
    Half backs are always targeted, we’ll cope. There’s not really anywhere to hide on a rugby pitch given the size of some wingers and centres these days, but good technique will bring anyone down. I did wonder if Woolf was introducing Dodd as a hooker interchange to get him used to tackling at super league level.
    Forwards win games. The backs decide by how much.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gray77 View Post
    We were sat on their line a number of times in the first twenty minutes, I'm talking about us doing something with the ball when we're inside their twenty, not throwing it around aimlessly in the middle of the park. How would a little ingenuity and creativity close to their line have cost us the game? Would we maybe have coughed up the ball, yeah maybe. But please tell me how it would have cost us the game given that the worst that would have come out of it would have been to lose possession near their line when that's what happened anyway with poor kicks on the last tackle.
    Agree. There was an instruction IMO to also keep kicks in play and not to give a set of 7 which sounds fair enough but this does'nt excuse how limited the kicks were that evening. Big games are big games because of the quality of opposition. In other words they are harder to breakdown and their players don't make mistakes.
    The Wigan backline were'nt tested at all until that moment of madness in the last seconds. It will be interesting to see how successful this attritional approach is next year. I made the point that Bradford were on the receiving end of more than a few times losses to Saints when they tried this back in the day so my own view is it has definite weaknesses as a game plan but lets see.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eddiewaringsflatcap View Post
    Agree. There was an instruction IMO to also keep kicks in play and not to give a set of 7 which sounds fair enough but this does'nt excuse how limited the kicks were that evening. Big games are big games because of the quality of opposition. In other words they are harder to breakdown and their players don't make mistakes.
    The Wigan backline were'nt tested at all until that moment of madness in the last seconds. It will be interesting to see how successful this attritional approach is next year. I made the point that Bradford were on the receiving end of more than a few times losses to Saints when they tried this back in the day so my own view is it has definite weaknesses as a game plan but lets see.
    There are only a few teams who will keep kicks in play those are usually the ones with good disciplined defences. We've seen quite a lot of teams not allowing our back 3 to have a chance of an open play attack, those teams are kicking to touch to get a rest and defensive line reset.

    For the semi final and final that end of set high deep kick was a great tactic when we had 4 or 5 players following up, couple of times we peeled off the tackle quickly so that the Cats and the Goons had to play the ball with no big forwards available to drive the ball up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by singe View Post
    Been wondering that myself. Also agree with Belgian re Grace. His defensive play has improved enormously as he's matured.
    ...along with his ability to field a high kick. Improved out of sight.

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