Huddersfield Giants have appointed former Canberra Raiders hooker Simon Woolford as their new head coach after fellow Australian Rick Stone departed the club in late March following a dismal start to the new season. But, just who is he and why are Huddersfield once more gambling on an Aussie to turn around the club's fortunes?

Increase of English coaches

Over the past decade, the amount of English coaches in the game has ballooned - there are now nine native Britons in charge of Super League sides. Only Huddersfield (Rick Stone previously and now Simon Woolford), Hull KR (Tim Sheens) and Warrington (Steve Price) have an Aussie at the helm.

Whilst this suggests there is an ever-increasing pot of talented coaches on these shores, some clubs continue to go down the Australian route.

Warrington appointed Price to take over from the English-converted Tony Smith at the end of 2017. Price himself was only an assistant coach at the time - he had been with the Cronulla Sharks from 2014 until Warrington approached him at the end of 2017.

In fact, Price had just one former club-level coaching role to boast about, having coached the St George Illawarra Dragons from 2012 until May 2014. His tenure lasted over two years and in that time, Price won just 36% of the 58 games he was in charge. So, why did Warrington look abroad and specifically to Price when his past record was so poor and when other British coaches in the lower leagues were chomping at the bit for a chance?

Simon Woolford...who?

Woolford is not exactly a known quantity over here either; he has spent all of his Rugby League [VIDEO] playing and coaching career Down Under.

As a player, Woolford began his career with Canberra in 1994, making over 230 appearances for the club over the course of 12 years and even captained the side for a number of years. As a club legend, Woolford left the Raiders at the end of the 2006 season to head to St George Illawarra, where he spent two seasons before finally retiring at the end of 2008.

Woolford, now 43, eventually moved into coaching. In 2012, he was named the new head coach of the Queanbeyan Blues, who play in the Canberra Rugby League competition. Here, Woolford enjoyed success, finishing runners-up in his first season in charge before winning the Premiership in 2014 and 2015. In a bizarre show of aggression, Woolford was suspended for nine months after breaking the window of the coaching box in 2015.

Woolford was then given the opportunity to coach the Newcastle Knights’ New South Wales Cup team ahead of the 2017 season. Although the Knights finished in the play-offs in his first year (2017), they are currently bottom of the table after six rounds.

So, with little connection to the UK, how was Woolford even in the picture? Well, he was working alongside the Knights’ head coach Nathan Brown, who coached the Giants in a successful period between 2009 and 2012. Woolford knows very little about the club from experience or even the country for that matter.

Look at home first

It is a very big risk that looks set to be taken by Huddersfield chairman Ken Davy. Woolford may well come recommended by Nathan Brown, but it could backfire sensationally. There is a plethora of young, talented coaches knocking about in the Championship and even League 1 that could have done as well as or even better than Rick Stone did at the Giants in the time he was at the club. You only have to look at the way that James Ford has transformed York City Knights.

York have been in League 1 since 2013, but since Ford took over in 2015, the Knights have finished 4th, 5th and 4th. The former Sheffield and York three-quarter nearly masterminded a famous Challenge Cup victory over Catalans in the recent fifth round too, coming up just short 22-34. Though interim boss Chris Thorman has failed to win a game whilst in charge of Huddersfield, every coach has to start somewhere and such a baptism of fire will stand him in good stead in the long run. What's to say this new Aussie will do any better?