SAINTS full back Lachlan Coote had a dream first season in the red vee last term – winning a Grand Final ring, a Dream Team place, a Great Britain call-up and hearing his ear-worm of a song become the musical soundtrack to a tumultuous season.

But after experiencing the shortest off-season of his career, the 29-year-old is raring to go as Saints – under Kristian Woolf – prepare to back up last year’s Super League title.

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And he has been impressed with the way the new boss has gone about business with the reigning champions.

Coote said: “Kristian has brought his own stuff, but has been mindful of not trying to change too much stuff as well.

“He is definitely the right man for the job. He is so professional in his ways and has coached for a long time now.

“He respects his players and we respect him for the way he goes about his business.

“I have only been with him a short time, given my short pre-season, but listening to what he has said so far and what he has brought to the team we are definitely going in the right direction.”

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Comparisons will inevitably be made with Woolf’s predecessor Justin Holbrook – who was always smiling in the two-and-half years in which he transformed the team’s fortunes, culminating in that unforgettable night at the Theatre of Dreams.

But Woolf – whose stock as a coach is sky high after guiding Tonga to test victories over Great Britain and Australia – is a shrewd operator with a personal touch, working on the team both collectively and individually.

Coote pointed out that appearances can often be deceptive.

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“He doesn’t smile too much, but when you talk to him you realise he is a great bloke to talk with,” Coote said.

“What has stood out most is the way that he personalises things and approaches his players.

“He doesn’t look approachable, but all the players say they can go up to him and have a chat about stuff.

“That is a good place to start as a coach and that is what I expect.

“He is doing all the right things there.

“We have had a couple of one-on-ones in how he wants me to play as a full back which is good.

“We are on the same page with things and that is exactly where we need to be.”

Saints go into the campaign as defending champions – a tag that brings its own challenges but one that is infinitely better than that of chokers after falling short in numerous big games in the last decade.

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Coote explained: “The last few years the line has been that Saints don’t know how to play big games – but now that we have got that off our backs we can just move on and do what we do.

“But we are up on a pedestal now and everyone is going to be getting up for Saints, which we experienced last year as well.

“You could see the difference in how teams approached our games and their approach the week after.

“They are definitely performing better against us and I am sure that is going to be no different this year.

“That is the same for anyone who wins the title – they are always on a pedestal,” he said.

The former North Queensland Cowboys full back was brought in last season as a replacement for Ben Barba.

There were clear differences in styles and approaches to the game, but the Saints crowd soon warmed to the silky skills, selfless plays and defensive organisation of the 2015 NRL Grand Final winner.

By Easter the faithful were roaring that he was the reason, Saints were top of the league – and apart from the blip at Wembley, the year went like a dream.

“I could not have written it any better. It was really a special year for myself and the club itself and all the other boys to be part of.

“I am just lucky that I have come into such a great team and that everyone was going to do their own job, which made mine a whole lot easier because I didn’t have to worry about anyone else.

“That was the best thing of being part of this team and experiencing a Grand Final win.

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“Everyone has their own stories. Look at Jonny Lomax – what he has done to get back to where he is and how good he went last year it was really great to see.

“And then to see him actually win a Grand Final and then Theo Fages, too. Where he has come from and where he is now is such a good story,” he said.

With that whirlwind of a season, closely followed by a Great Britain tour to New Zealand and Papua New Guinea, it has meant just a short break for the Scottish international as he aims to join that rare club of winning World Clubs for two different teams.St Helens Star:

And after spending Christmas in the heat back home Down Under he admitted being glad to be back in cool St Helens.

“This is the shortest off season I have had and is something that I am not used to so we will see how it all pans out.

“It has been good. It was a really long season last year and that was something I was not used to. But it was great to get back to Oz and be with the family over Christmas see all the brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews as well.

“My own family were excited to come back here from Australia and I never thought I would say that. It was actually nice to get back to a bit of cold – it was really hot over in Oz – a little bit too hot, so good to get some fresh air. It was good to get back to St Helens, knowing that we do have a home here now.

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“It was hard at times (early last year). Some of the stuff is as simple, like buying groceries and not knowing the brands and everything like that, but everything starts becoming normal.

“It made it easier to come back and we got over the jetlag a lot quicker,” he said.