The coach with three clubs, via Dean Ritchie.
The coach with three clubs, via Dean Ritchie.

One coach leads three teams in three countries

He hasn't yet coached an NRL game but Kristian Woolf could this week control elite sides in three countries.

Woolf could be head coach of Newcastle, St Helens and Tonga - an extraordinary situation for an assistant coach.

The Daily Telegraph can reveal Woolf is this week poised to be named head coach of English giants St Helens the position vacated by Gold Coast-bound Justin Holbrook.

Aside from St Helens, Woolf is preparing Newcastle for Saturday afternoon's game against Gold Coast at McDonald Jones Stadium.

Woolf, 44, was named the Knights' interim coach after Nathan Brown stood down on Tuesday.

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Woolf will coach the Knights for the rest of the season. AAP Image/Darren Pateman.
Woolf will coach the Knights for the rest of the season. AAP Image/Darren Pateman.

And in what little spare time he has, Woolf will need to monitor the form on Tongan players ahead of massive Test matches against Australia and Great Britain Lions later this year.

Woolf is yet to coach an NRL club and will feel immediate pressure attempting to lift a ravaged Newcastle against the Titans.

The Daily Telegraph understands Woolf is a favourite to be named St Helens coach, ahead of South Sydney assistant Jason Demetriou.

Anyone in any doubt over Woolf's credentials should speak to former Broncos and Penrith coach Anthony Griffin.

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Griffin lured Woolf to Brisbane from North Queensland as an assistant coach in 2012. The pair also worked briefly together with the Tongan Test side.

"I hired him at Brisbane as an assistant. He was the under 20s coach at the Cowboys. That was his first sort of real break I suppose you could call it," Griffin told The Daily Telegraph.

"He is a really good person, to start with; a really solid character. Kristian is a really measured coach, hardworking and always had a really good relationship with his players.

Woolf has coached Tonga since 2014. Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images.
Woolf has coached Tonga since 2014. Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images.

He has a good football brain, like a lot of those young blokes coming through at the moment.

"He is very composed. That was one thing that was an attraction for me when I heard about him and brought him into the Broncos. He was very good to the younger players up there when he came in. He is a really solid person, really honest.

"Kristian has a really good knowledge of the game and is a really strong person. That's his biggest character. He is quiet and a very self-assured guy. That is what earns him the respect of the players he works with."

Woolf has won six of 10 Tests with the Tongan side and was the driving force behind the Pacific nation luring superstar Jason Taumalolo from New Zealand. He has been Tongan coach since 2014.

"He (Woolf) is a great operator and he has the respect of the players," Knights player Jamie Buhrer said. "We are confident he will give his best over the next two weeks."

In 2015, Woolf returned to north Queensland to coach the Townsville Blackhawks in the Intrust Super Cup. He joined Newcastle at the start of this season as Brown's assistant coach.

News Corp Australia


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