SAINTS boss Kristian Woolf gave an update on pre-season training when the Star’s Mike Critchley caught up with him.

MC: Good to see Matty Lees back at training, can you give us an update on his progress?

KW: He returned to full training a couple of weeks before the Christmas break. A big task with him, with the type of injury he had, was that because he is such a tough fella he was ready to do contact.

But we wanted to make sure he had recovered physically and put a bit of weight back on, so we probably held him back a bit from what he wanted to do.

St Helens Star:

MC: He has always been a quite lean prop, are you happy with his size at the moment?

KW: It will take time, and he is still a young but he is coming on well and is a good diligent bloke.

He is at the targets we want at the moment.

The trick there too – is that you don’t him to put a lot of weight in a short period of time because it usually affects other things if you do that.

If you try and do it really quickly it tends to not be good weight. To do that it has to be a gradual process.

St Helens Star:

MC: You have a good balance in that pack and plenty of options – and quite a few who will miss out?

KW: There is a lot of competition and that is what makes the squad strong as well. The boys will want to make sure they are in starting positions – or are in the 17.

It keeps them all really honest and really hungry – that is a good position to be in, but we will have some decisions to make at some stage.

St Helens Star:

MC: Do the lads who currently have the shirt build up credits – or are they all starting with a blank page with you?

KW: It is a little bit of both. A lot of our guys have done a terrific job, not just last year, but over a number of years now.

Those guys are rewarded – and some of the internationals are in that category. They are there for a reason.

They are good players and have been over a consistently long period.

Those bloke deserve their credits, but at the same time we have got to recognise those boys who are working really hard and competing hard and want to put themselves in a position to play.

There are some guys doing that at the moment and again that is what keeps your squad really healthy and keeps it competitive.

St Helens Star:

MC: A new coach in pre-season does not get long to cram in new ideas and dovetail that with core fitness and skills, how have you managed this workload?

KW: It is a little bit of adjustment for myself as well because in Australia you tend to get six or seven weeks before Christmas, then another six or seven weeks after Christmas until you play.

But it starts earlier over here so everything is a little compressed.

The key to what we have tried to achieve so far is some adjustments, things we can improve on that will help evolve our game with and without the ball.

But what is here is not broken, so they are not massive changes – just a couple of adjustments. We have had enough time to do that and there are other things, with it being a long season, that we will try and evolve when we get playing.

MC: Did you only want one friendly game ahead of the start?

KW: One game is ideal for us, where we sit at the moment. When you make a Grand Final and win it, it makes it a long season. We had a number of boys who represented Great Britain and extended their season. When you take that into account – coming into another long season – then one trial game is enough.

You can argue that it does not make you as well prepared for round one, but there is a lot more than round one to consider as well. Over the course of the season one game is perfect.

St Helens Star:

MC: Will Sydney Roosters looming in week four help your focus for round one and then those two tough aways that follow?

KW: It is definitely a tough start, playing some of our main competitors and some of them away, so it is a good way to start the year. You want to go straight into the season, knowing we have a good challenge ahead of us.

If we are going to be as successful as we want to be then we are going to have to be really good against all those teams whether we are playing at home or away.

We can’t look beyond round one to start with and have to make sure we come out and play really good against Salford because they are only going to be better and a little bit more confident on the back of last year as well.

That is our first focus, but what the Roosters gives us is something to really sink our teeth into and be motivated for that does come up early in the season and that is a tremendous challenge that we are really looking forward to.