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Thread: Your Take KRISTIAN WOOLF lastr 5 games.

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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.
    The grind rugby approach leaves too much to chance. Im chuffed that we are champions and we are deserved Champions, but it was literally won by 2 balls bouncing off the sticks. No matter how well a team defends, a good attack is also needed. Defence alone doesn’t win games. The referee can slap you with repeat sets. You can spill the ball and the other team pounce. Interceptions etc. This sort of rugby isn’t good for the old ticker.
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    In The North Stand With All The Old Folk fishy3005's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Angry Dave View Post
    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.



    Knowles or Bentley are perfect for that.
    Speaking of Bentley, how big are his lungs?! 70 tackles and chasing that drop goal at the end. If Welsby didn’t get to it first i think Bentley would have!
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    4 of Saints young lads have just signed extended contracts and reading it seems as if Woolf had a bit to do with it .

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    Quote Originally Posted by fishy3005 View Post
    The grind rugby approach leaves too much to chance. Im chuffed that we are champions and we are deserved Champions, but it was literally won by 2 balls bouncing off the sticks. No matter how well a team defends, a good attack is also needed. Defence alone doesn’t win games. The referee can slap you with repeat sets. You can spill the ball and the other team pounce. Interceptions etc. This sort of rugby isn’t good for the old ticker.
    You can also look at it in another perspective is that you can attack with your defence. Always remember the 2006 season when we defended so well that teams couldn't get out of there 20, one game the opposition were on negative metres for some sets.

    We did something similar in the semi final against the Cats were they rarely got into the Saints half. In the Grand Final similar again for most of the first half, only got the one chance with Hardaker.

    Woolf has made us tough to beat, the opposition might have to resort to risky plays, the Cats tried it and Saints scored 2 or 3 tries on the back of them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Saint Ged View Post
    4 of Saints young lads have just signed extended contracts and reading it seems as if Woolf had a bit to do with it .
    https://www.saintsrlfc.com/2020/12/0...xtended-deals/

    There you go Ged. Thanks for the heads up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by STIDDY View Post
    Woolf has made us tough to beat, the opposition might have to resort to risky plays, the Cats tried it and Saints scored 2 or 3 tries on the back of them.
    Wigan went right on three occasions in the second half, blew the first, we held firm the second then they scored with the third. Not risky stuff as the reward was 4 points and the risk was coughing up the ball 10 metres from our try line. Did we try this even once in the game? The argument Andy, fishy and I are making is that the game needn’t have been so intense and so nerve wracking had we attempted to create something when we were close to their line. There is no risk involved really, as the worst that happens is them picking up the ball in front of their line. Given that our last tackle options were hopeless I don’t see an argument in favour of what we did instead of trying to create something. This is all I’m saying. I don’t want us throwing it around in our half in a GF, I don’t want us taking risky chances on the half way line, but I do want us to try more than 5 rams down the middle and a terrible kick when we have a side pinned to their line for 15 minutes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gray77 View Post
    Wigan went right on three occasions in the second half, blew the first, we held firm the second then they scored with the third. Not risky stuff as the reward was 4 points and the risk was coughing up the ball 10 metres from our try line. Did we try this even once in the game? The argument Andy, fishy and I are making is that the game neednít have been so intense and so nerve wracking had we attempted to create something when we were close to their line. There is no risk involved really, as the worst that happens is them picking up the ball in front of their line. Given that our last tackle options were hopeless I donít see an argument in favour of what we did instead of trying to create something. This is all Iím saying. I donít want us throwing it around in our half in a GF, I donít want us taking risky chances on the half way line, but I do want us to try more than 5 rams down the middle and a terrible kick when we have a side pinned to their line for 15 minutes.
    When weíre outside the 20m our game plan is to kick into that 10m square in the corners. When we get within the 20m we donít seem to know what to do on the last tackle. We never seem to be set up for anything.
    Forwards win games. The backs decide by how much.

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    Quote Originally Posted by STIDDY View Post
    You can also look at it in another perspective is that you can attack with your defence. Always remember the 2006 season when we defended so well that teams couldn't get out of there 20, one game the opposition were on negative metres for some sets.

    We did something similar in the semi final against the Cats were they rarely got into the Saints half. In the Grand Final similar again for most of the first half, only got the one chance with Hardaker.

    Woolf has made us tough to beat, the opposition might have to resort to risky plays, the Cats tried it and Saints scored 2 or 3 tries on the back of them.
    Yeh but to be fair mate, in 2006 we had so much talent that if we defended well it was inevitable that points would follow regardless of how well we were coached attack wise.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gray77 View Post
    Wigan went right on three occasions in the second half, blew the first, we held firm the second then they scored with the third. Not risky stuff as the reward was 4 points and the risk was coughing up the ball 10 metres from our try line. Did we try this even once in the game? The argument Andy, fishy and I are making is that the game needn’t have been so intense and so nerve wracking had we attempted to create something when we were close to their line. There is no risk involved really, as the worst that happens is them picking up the ball in front of their line. Given that our last tackle options were hopeless I don’t see an argument in favour of what we did instead of trying to create something. This is all I’m saying. I don’t want us throwing it around in our half in a GF, I don’t want us taking risky chances on the half way line, but I do want us to try more than 5 rams down the middle and a terrible kick when we have a side pinned to their line for 15 minutes.
    Have you Andy and Fishy listened to the 5 Live Rugby League Podcasts, there is an episode called The Privilege of Pressure with Paul Wellens and John Wilkin, it's talking a lot of being patient for opportunities created by process. There is also an explanation of the term "soft side of the ruck" and exploiting it, the Goons on Friday were at the top of their game to make sure it didn't exist. I would recommend people to give it a listen.

    I'm quite happy with Woolf's approach in making the team similar to a NRL side, yes we have a conservative approach, if you listen to that podcast Paul Wellens explains things in his analogy of the "IKEA Bedside Table" its very interesting and equates to what is going on at the moment with our new coach.
    Last edited by STIDDY; 3rd December 2020 at 09:27.

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    I think alot of people are forgetting that Walmsley came within a whisper of scoring a try in the first half with a kick through and Roby twice went for the line. Where it any other game, Walmsley and Roby score them and we go 3 tries up.

    But the Grand Final, everyone is giving that little bit more so the opportunities where hard to come by.


    Woolf made us hard to beat. We got a bit of luck with Zaks missed penalty/conversion but you make your own luck and play till the very end.

    Which we did and Wigan didnt.


    For me, Woolf gets a clean slate for the '21 season. We've just announced a load of extensions for some of the younger lads. Who knows they may inject a bit of flare into the training squad and force a shake up in how we play.

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    We created chances in the Grand Final but I thought both teams defended heroically to be honest. Sometimes you've just got to take your chances (or chance) when they come and we did and that's all that matters. I think what let us down in the final more than anything was our kicking game, Fages in particular did not end the sets well and any pressure we built we let it go with a mixed kicking game. Wigan defended superbly on the edge and whenever Coote or our Centres got it they pretty much snuffed us out.

    Grand Finals are often tight and tough affairs though, with tries hard to come by. If you look at the final last year we only scored 3 tries - one a short pass to Knowles from Walmsley, one from a scrum and one from a kick from Percival. It was hardly a free flowing classic.

    The year before there were just three tries in the entire game also. It's very rare you see blowout scores in finals. In 1999 we played on the back foot, created very little but ended up winning.

    Does our attack need work? Yes definitely. But there's no guarantee whatsoever we'd have won that under Holbrook. Our record in big games under Holbrook wasn't great and we often resorted to tight tactics to try and grind the opposition down then too. The Wire semi final in 2018 and 2019 Grand Final were good examples of that, one worked and one didn't. I can remember the reaction on here wasnt good after we lost that Wire semi finals in 2018. We tried to play expansive in the Challenge Cup final and came unstuck too. Finals are about winning and we achieved that goal.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sinkers89 View Post
    I think alot of people are forgetting that Walmsley came within a whisper of scoring a try in the first half with a kick through and Roby twice went for the line. Where it any other game, Walmsley and Roby score them and we go 3 tries up.

    But the Grand Final, everyone is giving that little bit more so the opportunities where hard to come by.


    Woolf made us hard to beat. We got a bit of luck with Zaks missed penalty/conversion but you make your own luck and play till the very end.

    Which we did and Wigan didnt.


    For me, Woolf gets a clean slate for the '21 season. We've just announced a load of extensions for some of the younger lads. Who knows they may inject a bit of flare into the training squad and force a shake up in how we play.
    I thought the grand final was very similar to the 1999 version between us and the Bradford Bulls, both teams having plenty of scoring opportunities that season but when it came to the final it became a tight defensive game.

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    Good discussion from Woolf on the saints podcast today, premium edition. Some main points:-

    1. Couple of weeks after the World Club Challenge the team were mentally and physically tired, some players coming back from injury were not match fit.

    2. After the Covid break, all the team were in good condition and the players reflected that in the way and style of play.

    3. Paul Wellens was given the role of our attacking structure, whilst Woolf was involved more in a tough aggressive defence.

    4. With the new players he might play a bit different next season because the opposition could be chasing us and is expecting a stiffer challenge next year.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fishy3005 View Post
    The grind rugby approach leaves too much to chance. Im chuffed that we are champions and we are deserved Champions, but it was literally won by 2 balls bouncing off the sticks. No matter how well a team defends, a good attack is also needed. Defence alone doesn’t win games. The referee can slap you with repeat sets. You can spill the ball and the other team pounce. Interceptions etc. This sort of rugby isn’t good for the old ticker.
    I agree with you on this and I'm more confident for next season now that we'll see a bit more attack. We know full well we have the scope for it but hopefully after the squeaky bum final, hopefully Woolf has realised we need to use it and put games to bed. What worries me is we're so far ahead of probably 60% of teams, he know's we can just steam roller them and most have no answer, obviously that's his favoured style so why would he change. Hopefully someone has a word in his shell over the off season while he has most fans back onside and lets us play a bit.

    Quote Originally Posted by fishy3005 View Post
    Speaking of Bentley, how big are his lungs?! 70 tackles and chasing that drop goal at the end. If Welsby didn’t get to it first i think Bentley would have!
    He's an absolute machine, I don't think there's any question he's a starting player now and dare I say one of the first names on the team sheet.

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    If Percival is back to full fitness for 2021 id like to see Welsby given a runout in the halves.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angry Dave View Post
    What worries me is we're so far ahead of probably 60% of teams, he know's we can just steam roller them and most have no answer, obviously that's his favoured style so why would he change. Hopefully someone has a word in his shell over the off season while he has most fans back onside and lets us play a bit.
    Agreed, and it must be a culture shock for an Australian who has lived his life watching or coaching RL down there to realise that we are miles ahead of half the teams in the comp, because that simply doesn’t happen down there no matter who you are. The NRL attitude is that every game can be a defeat and so every win is massive, and it’s understandable that tactics are geared around not making mistakes and only attacking from positions of strength in a game. Hopefully he’s worked out that we aren’t simply England’s version of Melbourne or the Roosters (at a lower level) with a dozen sides that can beat us on any given week if we’re not on it, but that we’re actually Melbourne or the Roosters in a league made up of half a dozen Canterbury Bulldogs who will be beaten easily nine times out of ten. Maybe he’s learned that half the league doesn’t need to be respected in the same way that the likes of Wests or Gold Coast are respected down there, and he’ll release the shackles a bit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angry Dave View Post
    I agree with you on this and I'm more confident for next season now that we'll see a bit more attack. We know full well we have the scope for it but hopefully after the squeaky bum final, hopefully Woolf has realised we need to use it and put games to bed. What worries me is we're so far ahead of probably 60% of teams, he know's we can just steam roller them and most have no answer, obviously that's his favoured style so why would he change. Hopefully someone has a word in his shell over the off season while he has most fans back onside and lets us play a bit.



    .
    Its Paul Wellens who was in charge of our attacking structure this season, hopefully he and Woolf will make adjustments now we have impact players and Percival for next year.

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    For me next season will truly show us what Woolf can achieve and what style of play he will really bring to Saints. This season he had to contend with a batch of injuries to key players early doors, Covid and an ageing squad (in some key areas) some of whom were moving on at the culmination of the season he was, in effect, in charge of Holbrooks team. Now he's going to start next season with some new signings of his own and some youngsters coming through to augment those already blooded. This combination added to proven World class players such as Makinson, Robes, Walmsley, Lomax, Coote and the much improved Grace looks exciting on paper and I for one am looking forward to see what Woolf can produce form what looks like an exciting and potntially all conquering squad. COYS!

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    Quote Originally Posted by STIDDY View Post
    Its Paul Wellens who was in charge of our attacking structure this season, hopefully he and Woolf will make adjustments now we have impact players and Percival for next year.
    If the same guy was doing attack all year, you would have to wonder what happened between those first games post lockdown and the later games. You can only assume it was the overall strategy from the coach that we played the way we did. Lets hope for a bit more flowing rugby from our 3/4s next year.

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    Quote Originally Posted by STIDDY View Post
    Its Paul Wellens who was in charge of our attacking structure this season, hopefully he and Woolf will make adjustments now we have impact players and Percival for next year.
    To be honest I'm happy with that, Wello has a cracking RL brain.

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    Quote Originally Posted by STIDDY View Post
    Its Paul Wellens who was in charge of our attacking structure this season, hopefully he and Woolf will make adjustments now we have impact players and Percival for next year.
    Hopefully, with some extra size in the pack next season we can keep punching holes when Alex goes off. That should allow the backs extra space to play some rugby.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Belgian Saint View Post
    If the same guy was doing attack all year, you would have to wonder what happened between those first games post lockdown and the later games. You can only assume it was the overall strategy from the coach that we played the way we did. Lets hope for a bit more flowing rugby from our 3/4s next year.
    Was there that much difference? We played Catalans in the first game after lockdown and in the semi final - the score was almost identical, and other than some excitable offloads in the first game (after lockdown it was hardly a surprise the players were a little over excited) the games were pretty identical (as were the half time and full time scores).

    I have said earlier in this thread our willingness to switch between split halves and 1st/2nd receiver is the puzzler for us at the moment as we look a lot more threatening when Fages slots into first receiver (as he did for both games vs Catalans) but we didn’t follow that structure in the final. The question to Wellens would be why, but as we showed Wigan, it was no guarantee of attacking success either as Wigan only broke us down once.

    It’s like over the last 4 years since Cunningham we have had to relearn how to win big games, and we’re starting to get there, we now have to learn how to be comfortable in them which naturally follows on (it’s hardly like we were free flowing last year vs Salford either as others have pointed out).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gray77 View Post
    Do you really reckon 14 points a game needed improving on? If you inherit a side that ships an average of 14 a game youíre on to a winner IMO. Taking away a slice of what made us a good team to watch last season so you can improve the defence marginally isnít IMO justified. He didnít take over Hull KR, he took over a champion side that already had a good defence, and heís merely made it a bit better at the cost of blunting our attack. Our failure to win big games over the last few years has not been our defence, and as I said on another thread his tactics on Friday didnít actually win us that game either. It merely kept us in a game that developed into a slugfest after we were unable to get on top when we dominated early on.

    A priority on attack would have seen us a try or two up in the first twenty on Friday and weíd have then had the upper hand as Wigan would have had to take chances. Instead we were one dimensional near their line and then had to resort to the slog for an hour, and save Hardaker missing two kicks it would have lost us the game. We earned the right to attack their line in the opening twenty, and we did nothing with the ball on numerous occasions. You have to give the coach credit for toughening us up slightly, but you have to give him stick for going into Friday thinking the only way we could beat Wigan was on a proverbial points decision after a 15 round fight. More ambition when we were on top early on and that 15 rounder doesnít need to happen, weíd have knocked them out handily.

    Weíre all arguing as if that was our only way to beat the mighty Wigan when we dominated them early on and should have put them away. The reason we are so proud of our team for battling all night was because we had to, because we had nothing in our locker to score some tries when camped on their line early on. Some of us are focusing on the bits from 20-80 mins as if the first 20 mins didnít happen. We could have blown that game wide open early on but we had no ambition or instructions on how to do it.

    Our acceptance of all this is worrying really because once you start saying that itís fine to kill yourself for an hour because you canít score a try youíre admitting something very negative about the way the team is coached. We half killed ourself in a game we could have won in the first twenty, and we then half killed ourself in a game where nine times out of ten weíd have still lost barring two missed kicks and a miracle try by us.
    I could not agree with this post more.

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    Quote Originally Posted by magic superbeetle View Post
    Was there that much difference? We played Catalans in the first game after lockdown and in the semi final - the score was almost identical, and other than some excitable offloads in the first game (after lockdown it was hardly a surprise the players were a little over excited) the games were pretty identical (as were the half time and full time scores).

    I have said earlier in this thread our willingness to switch between split halves and 1st/2nd receiver is the puzzler for us at the moment as we look a lot more threatening when Fages slots into first receiver (as he did for both games vs Catalans) but we didn’t follow that structure in the final. The question to Wellens would be why, but as we showed Wigan, it was no guarantee of attacking success either as Wigan only broke us down once.

    It’s like over the last 4 years since Cunningham we have had to relearn how to win big games, and we’re starting to get there, we now have to learn how to be comfortable in them which naturally follows on (it’s hardly like we were free flowing last year vs Salford either as others have pointed out).
    I wasn't only referring to Cats. Our rugby post lockdown seemed to me, to be much faster and more exciting than the last few games. It may have been "starting again euphoria" But was amazed at our difference pre and post lockdown.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angry Dave View Post
    To be honest I'm happy with that, Wello has a cracking RL brain.
    I've been watching and listening a lot of podcasts lately these are from Brian Mcdermott, Kevin Brown, John Wilkin, Paul Wellens and Ryan Brierley surprisingly they are all saying a similar thing on the way the game is approached be it in a positive or negative way.

    They are almost saying the same thing that defensive structures are a lot better now, when the opposition defence is good they are saying that there is not enough time to create or set up a play. they mention that the game is about momentum and seeing a play in an instant.

    Apparently when Saints played so well post Covid it became a benchmark on how defences had to be smarter and quicker, they mentioned 2 clubs in Hull and Catalan didn't adapt to it because they had the wrong forwards in respect to fitness and mobility. Tony Smith experimented with an offload and short kick off game that worked for a short while but it didn't take long for clubs to adjust to it and it became less of a surprise to defend against it.

    On another podcast Woolf mentioned that the most disappointing loss was the Huddersfield one, that must have been on his mind because second time around we gave them a good tonking 54-6. For next season we should have a lot more go forward instead of the reliance on Walmsley if that happens then we should have more attack in the locker especially with the return of Percival.

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