St Helens coach Kristian Woolf says he’ll relish the chance to test himself against “the best team in the world” when his side faces Sydney Roosters in the World Club Challenge.
Saints host the NRL Grand Final winners at Langtree Park on 22 February and Woolf believes the match offers an opportunity to lay down an early marker in his new role.
He said: “The World Club Challenge is a great opportunity for us.
“We get to have a little bit of a goal that isn’t long-term in the sense of what you want to do over the course of the season, but it’s something to achieve early in the year.
“It’s given us that little bit of extra motivation to work a bit harder.
“We want to compete and give ourselves the best possible chance of winning against the best team in the world.
“That’s why our pre-season is about being world class in everything we do.”
Woolf admits that his first pre-season as Saints coach has suffered some disruption, following injuries and surgeries that have affected established stars including James Roby and Tommy Makinson.
“We’re getting there and we’re starting to get more numbers on the field, and more blokes being able to do more things, including those who’ve come out of surgery.
“It’s been a little bit of a disrupted pre-season in that sense and it will continue to be on the back of a number of guys having surgery and others involved with a lengthy representative season as well.
“We’re not quite back to full strength and everyone training, but as we move past Christmas we’ll get closer and closer.”
And Woolf says he has been impressed by the attitude shown by his player so far, believing that their appetite to learn can help them repeat this year’s success in 2020.
He added: “I’ve been happy. The blokes are working really hard.
“They are doing everything that’s asked of them and they’re showing a good attention to detail.
“There’s a really good work ethic and a desire to listen to what’s needed, to learn and want to work hard.
“If you’ve got those things then you’ve got a group that’s going to want to improve and take challenges on.
“That’s exactly what this group is. They had a really successful year on the back of that in 2019 and have a good chance of having more success again because of it.”