St Helens boss Kristian Woolf blasts Super League's 'not smart' fixture schedule | The Sun

KRISTIAN Woolf believes Super League’s ludicrous second double header weekend is 'not smart management.’

It may even affect England’s World Cup chances against southern hemisphere sides.

The St Helens boss also believes rugby league authorities must impose a ‘bare minimum’ seven-day break before the following match.

Woolf’s three-times defending champions and current table toppers face rivals Wigan on Friday before taking on Wakefield 72 hours later. They play five matches in 20 days before the finals series.

One double header over Easter is enough – and the Australian admits he loves the ‘challenge’ – but another, when every top flight side is coping with at least eight injuries, has attracted huge criticism.

And the man leading the pack – who also coaches World Cup contenders Tonga – believes schedulers have messed up.

Woolf said: “When we put two in, with one at the back end of the season, that’s not smart management at all.

“Five games in 20 days sounds like too much because it is too much. Fatigue can increase the risk of injury, that’s going to play its part.

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“The calendar will have much less of an effect on Tonga as realistically, the majority of our squad will come from the NRL.

“Some players will have played 25 club games and I feel for players over here who’ll have played as many as 34 or 35.

“That’s too many and means some players might not make it to a World Cup through injury. There’ll also be a fair bit of carry over fatigue.

“That’s something we could’ve been a bit better with. There should be a bare minimum of seven days between the second game and the next one.”

While Woolf’s men plough through the campaign in pursuit of their fourth consecutive title, Woolf cannot help but ‘100 per cent’ feel the standard here would be better with fewer games.

And even though he can see why clubs agree to the packed schedule, recent games have highlighted why it works against players.

“There’s always a mid-season period where players fatigue,” he added. “But the more games you have, the longer that is going to be.

“It’ll be more of a down too, we definitely see that. Recently, games haven’t been the highest quality or that attractive to the eye.

“I know there are lots of factors in putting a schedule together, particularly how we keep the game at the professional status it’s at.

“It’s a hard balancing act but over a period of time, we need to start figuring out where there can be a bit of give and take and where we can come to a better solution.”

As things stand, this time around Saints play three games in eight days as they follow Wakefield with a home match against Toulouse on Saturday, September 3.

But even though he is a fan of the Easter concept, Woolf wants a ‘smarter’ approach in future.

He told SunSport: “In Australia, it’s a minimum five-day turnaround between games and we need to be smarter in how we allow players to recover from what we’ve asked them to do.

“Good Friday against Wigan is massive. I love Good Friday, it’s outstanding – it’s just different.

“And winning on Friday and Monday is a real badge of honour but if we’re going to continue doing it, you have to look after the players after that period.”

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