SAINTS boss Kristian Woolf looked forward to Saturday’s eagerly anticipated Grand Final at Old Trafford, when the Star’s Mike Critchley caught up with him.

MC: There was a good atmosphere on the terraces and on the field among the players after the game – you can see the anticipation building for the Grand Final.

KW: I thought Friday was a great occasion. I was obviously really happy with the way our blokes played but the atmosphere was great too, and our fans did a terrific job and had a lot to be happy about.

The Leeds fans created a great bit of rivalry and atmosphere too, and that is what you want in big games.

It is the time of the year you still want to be playing and our blokes get that opportunity through working hard.

St Helens Star:

MC: As reporters we pull out headlines, incidents and flashy stuff – but two unheralded performers in Friday’s game were from Jonny Lomax and James Roby

KW: I thought they were both really good.

And you are exactly right – you come to expect what Robes does because he does it week in, week out.

He was exceptional on Friday, he played 80 minutes and never at any stage did he look uncomfortable playing every minute no matter what it tossed up.

He was certainly in our top few players in a team that performed really well.

He got a bit of a reward with a try there in a semi final. I was extremely happy with him – and exactly the same with Jonny.

St Helens Star:

Jonny is probably one of, if not the most marked players in the competition when it comes to defences. He found a way to make sure he got the ball to where it needed to get despite the pressure put on him by the opposition. That is a sign of a class players.

MC: The players made a point of celebrating success - was it important to do that before gearing up for a massive week?

KW: We are extremely lucky that as a club it has been so successful for so long. There is that history of being involved in the big games and the Grand Finals.

 We have got a number of players that come from other clubs, or players from overseas.

While it is our third year in a row of getting to a Grand Final it is nevertheless still really important to realise how big it still is and how big an occasion it is, so that we do enjoy it.

St Helens Star:

MC: It is a huge game, 1 v 2, but it feels like Saints v the rest of the rugby league world?

KW: It is a bit like that and we got a glimpse of that at Magic weekend because it was very noticeable, and you could really feel it, that everyone outside of our fans was going for Catalans.

That is a product of success – continued success – and that is something we are very comfortable with.

St Helens Star:

MC: How are you bodies wise - did you come through the semi final unscathed?

KW: We are fine. We will be exactly the same 17 as we were on the weekend. Everyone who played at the weekend is available.

There won’t be too many teams, if you are still playing this time of the year, who don’t have some bumps and bruises. Being able to with that is what the big games are about as well.

MC: The number of bandages seem to increase as the year reaches this stage – I don’t doubt you have a few players with one more big game before they need work?

KW: That is the case for some. You only have to look at the example from the NRL, Dylan Edwards the Penrith full back came out and said he hasn’t trained for the past month and he has been playing on a broken foot.

That is what our sport’s players do – they are extremely brave in what they put their bodies through. There is a lot of unseen stuff that people don’t know at times – but they are able to put themselves out on a field and still play to a certain level.

St Helens Star:

MC: Last game for Lachlan Coote and Kevin Naiqama, and the prospect of third title in a row for the first time – it is a game with a lot of emotion. How do you take those elements out and treat it like a normal big game?

KW: It is another big game of footy. One of the things we have an advantage with is that we have played in the last two Grand Finals and we have also played in the Challenge Cup final.

We have got a group of men that know how to deal with that expectation and a group of men who know what it takes in these big games. We can be confident in that.

St Helens Star:

When you talk about expectation and where pressure comes from I think we are in a really good position there and the pressure is on the opposition.

They are the ones that won the League Leaders Shiled, if you go back to Magic they got that result too and the scenes there at the semi final last week in France, it was outstanding to see that atmosphere and the way they have been supported by their fans.

But that brings with it expectation and a lot of pressure.

It is their first time in a Grand Final so there is a lot of expectation that they will have to deal with and navigate through.

St Helens Star:

MC: Can you give an assessment of what Lachlan Coote has brought to this team over the past three years?

KW: Lachlan is exceptional to work with. He is a very good person who is there for the right reasons and is very much about the team as well.

He is great for us off the field and has a really good look of what a club should look like.

He is very willing to have input, both in terms of the playing group and the staff – and you know that it is coming from the right place and trust what feedback he gives you as well.

St Helens Star:

That is always great to have in your team – he is a terrific leader and he does that by example and he works in with what we have got there as a group of leaders.

He has obviously been terrific for the team in terms of what he puts on the field and that is what everyone does see. What he offers off it and around the club is just as important.

MC: You must be relishing the prospect of a trip to Old Trafford after playing last year's behind closed doors?

KW: Last year was different – we had become used to not having crowds and we created our own atmosphere.

This year, it is the same enormity of game we are building for, but there is a bit more excitement and positive feel because we know we are going to have that atmosphere and what the crowd bring, the support banter and everything else.

That is an experience we can enjoy this year.