THERE will be a mutual respect among the two head coaches on Friday night when Saints and Salford kick off the 2021 Betfred Super League season.

Understandably so - given the last time Kristian Woolf and Richard Marshall sat down at a live competitive match it was when they were masterminding Saints' last gasp Grand Final triumph over Wigan. Marshall left Saints in the off-season to step up as head coach at the Red Devils.

And he left with a lot of good will from Saints boss Woolf, who rates his former assistant as a very good coach.

"He is a terrific bloke, first and foremost and is a hard worker with a terrific energy about him.

"He has some different ideas as well. Sometimes it is difficult as an assistant as you have got to run the head coach's line.

"He did that terrifically - but I knew that he had his own ideas too that he was willing to put forward.

"He has shown all the signs of being a really good head coach and I am looking forward to seeing what he does with Salford. I'd back him to have success."

Marshall, who took over the reins at the AJ Bell following the departure of Ian Watson, has previously been assistant at Warrington and head coach at Championship side Halifax.

He admits that his time at Saints added positively to his learning curve.

"I learned a great deal from Kristian," Marshall said.

"His work ethic is second to none.

"He is always the first one in there and the last one out of the building. That is a pretty good trait – put the hours in and very often in this game you get what you deserve.

"If you don’t put the hours in and establish those relationships with the players then you fall by the wayside.

"I have a wonderful affection for St Helens as a club but now I am fully focused on Salford and having a successful season."