Catalans Dragons v St Helens - Betfred Super League Grand Final
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 09: Kristian Woolf, Head Coach of St Helens smiles following victory in the Betfred Super League Grand Final match between Catalans Dragons and St Helens at Old Trafford on October 09, 2021 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Lewis Storey/Getty Images)

New Dolphins assistant coach Kristian Woolf has revealed working with Wayne Bennett and a desire to learn as much as possible before taking over as an NRL head coach was behind his decision to step away from head coaching.

Woolf has been head coach of St Helens in the English Super League for three years leading up to the move back to Australia, winning three titles on the hop.

The English champions will visit Australia during the pre-season, playing a trial against the St George Illawarra Dragons, before taking on the Penrith Panthers the following week in the World Club Challenge.

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Woolf has also held head coaching at the lower levels of the game, where he was the inaugural coach of the Townsville Blackhawks, leading the club to a grand final.

A highly-chased coach during the NRL's 2022 coaching merry-go-round, which has seen Cameron Ciraldo replace Trent Barrett at the Canterbury Bulldogs, Tim Sheens take over from Michael Maguire at the Wests Tigers, and Andrew Webster appointed at the New Zealand Warriors after the departure of Nathan Brown, Woolf ultimately decided an assistant role under Bennett, who he will take over from in the head coaching role for 2025, was the way to go.

Bennett, who could be in his last coaching role but hasn't ruled out the prospect of continuing after his two years in charge of the NRL's newest club, is one of the game's best ever, and Woolf said the fact he still has plenty to learn before his first NRL head coaching role was behind the decision, as well as the chance to be involved with the Redcliffe-based outfit from Day 1.

"I have still got plenty of things that I can learn," Woolf told the media.

"I really enjoyed my time in England and we had a lot of success.

"There are things I learned there that I would like to put in place here and that I think can work here, but at the same time ... there is no one better than Wayne Bennett to learn under.

"I am really looking forward to seeing what makes him different and special as a coach."

Woolf, who is 47 years of age, has also been in charge of the Tongan national outfit since 2014 and will continue in that role for the foreseeable future.