Yates' view: Will new decade bring another golden era for St Helens?

Keiron Cunningham celebrates winning the Carnegie Challenge Cup Final against Hull FC  at Wembley in 2008
Keiron Cunningham celebrates winning the Carnegie Challenge Cup Final against Hull FC at Wembley in 2008

The first decade of the new Millennium was dominated by two Super League clubs - Saints and West Yorkshire rivals, Leeds Rhinos.


Silverware was showered on both clubs like confetti and with some justification.

Between 2000 and 2010 St Helens captured three Grand Final crowns, five Challenge Cup successes and topped the table at the end of the regular season on no fewer than five occasions, while the Loiners plundered four Old Trafford triumphs and two Minor Premierships.

It was a golden era, particularly as far as Saints were concerned, and also included a couple of World Club Challenge wins under the guidance of Aussie head coach Ian Millward and then fellow countryman Daniel Anderson who was at the helm when the club won the highly prestigious BBC Sports Team of the Year in 2006.

The run of success started in 2000 under the watchful eye of the ebullient and often controversial Ellery Hanley,who steered Saints to Grand Final victory over his old club and now after October's Grand Final win over Salford Red Devils, fans will be hoping the dawn of the 2020's will be the starting point of another spell of dominance.

It's an awesome record and formidable challenge for new boss Kristian Woolf to take on board - and one which will brings its own pressure from a demanding band of supporters who will be asking for more of the same.

But Saints will have done their homework thoroughly on the Aussie before asking him to put pen to paper on a two-year deal with an option of a further 12 contract and feel he can build on their success of last season.

Like his predecessor, Justin Holbrook, he arrives at the Totally Wicked Stadium something of an unknown quantity, but chairman Eamonn McManus believes they have hired the right man to take the club into an even more challenge period when everyone will be wanting to claim the scalp of the defending champions.

"We consider that Kristian is ideally qualified and placed to add and add to our current success," said Mr McManus.

"He has the experience and expertise to bring the best out of our existing staff and to improve it further.

"We are very confident that the club will again compete seriously for honours under his tenure and that we will continue to play fast and exciting."

Retaining the Super title will be top of the agenda, but Woolf will certainly endear himself to the supporters if he can initially lift the one trophy which has escaped Saints' grasp since 2008 ... the Rugby League Challenge Cup.

They reached the final in 2019 but were surprisingly beaten at Wembley by neighbours Warrington Wolves.