Simon Woolford to coach Kangaroos straight out of Super League

NEW CHALLENGE: Former NRL player Simon Woolford will coach Kangaroos this season after returning from the English Super League.

NEW CHALLENGE: Former NRL player Simon Woolford will coach Kangaroos this season after returning from the English Super League.

Fresh from coaching Huddersfield in the English Super League, former Cherrypicker Simon Woolford will return to Group Nine but it will be to face off against his former team as the coach for the Kangaroos.

In what the Wagga club themselves are calling a coup, the former Canberra Raiders and St George Illawarra hooker has signed on in a non-playing role bringing with him not only his vast playing experience but his coaching experience as well.

The 45-year-old has spent the last two seasons with the Giants in the UK before both parties decided to part ways after a COVID-19 interrupted season.

The Young product last played for the Cherrypickers in 2012, four years after retiring from the NRL, but links with their Group Nine rivals.

Kangaroos president Peter Hurst is thrilled to have Woolford on board for the 2021 season.

"It is a real coup for us to have that level of professionalism and competitiveness," Hurst said.

It is a real coup for us to have that level of professionalism and competitiveness.

Peter Hurst - Kangaroos president

"It should be a great advantage for us this season."

Kangaroos are expected to have a very different looking line up to the side who won just one game in the shortened Group Nine season.

Captain-coach Hayden Ashcroft has left for a new employment opportunity, Hamish Starr has returned to Temora, Jordan Coleman is in Queensland but the club is confident they can fill the void.

Especially with Woolford's experience coming into the coaching role.

"To have someone with 262 NRL games, who has coached in Canberra, Newcastle and just coming straight out of the Super League with Huddersfield Giants is massive for us," Hurst said.

"It is going to bring us the level of professionalism we have to take on to further the club down that path."

Kangaroos won the Weissel Cup competition last season and Hurst hopes Woolford's influence can establish the club as a force for years to come.

"We want to be real contenders for next season with our recruitment and maintaining of our quality young squad it will be competitive in 2021," he said. "We're looking in the long term for the club to be finals contenders year in and year out and foster our juniors through the ranks."

Woolford's appointment completes the Group Nine coaching puzzle for 2021 with only Young, Southcity and Albury retaining their full set up from this season.