willow last edited by
Woods relishing return to Leichhardt
Fri 4th April, 10:14AM
Of all the players that will take the field at Leichhardt Oval on Sunday, April 6 against the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles, perhaps none will be more excited Aaron Woods.
Having grown up in Leichhardt, the towering prop played his junior football with Leichhardt Juniors before he started to make a name for himself in the Australian Schoolboys and Wests Tigers NYC squads. And while much has changed between when he first walked out at Leichhardt and when he’ll take the field on Sunday for his 68th first-grade game, the 23-year-old is still as excited as ever to play at his beloved Leichhardt Oval.
“2040’s the hometown,” he says with a laugh. “I love it.”
“As a team, we’re going all right on the field. We’re doing a bit better than how people thought we’d be going at the moment, so we should get a big crowd.
“And a packed house at Leichhardt — it doesn’t get any better than that”.
Having recently come back from a disappointing 42-12 loss to the New Zealand Warriors in front of a strong crowd at Westpac Stadium in Wellington, Woods knows firsthand just how important it is to have a strong home crowd behind the team.
“It’s a massive boost when there’s a big crowd there," said Woods.
“I walk out and I get goosebumbs. I see all my mates on the hill and the ones out there heckling me a bit,” he laughs. “I love that. It really gets you going and gives you a second wind. I suppose the adrenaline of playing in front of your mates and a big crowd cheering you on gives you the energy for an extra 10 minutes on the field.”
Woods’ absence from the Wests Tigers’ squad was easily seen throughout last season as the club struggled for consistency going forward, and it’s no surprise that his return to form has seen a much-improved performance from the Club’s pack.
Throw in strong off-season recruits such as Martin Taupau, Cory Paterson and James Gavet plus the growth of players like Ava Seumanufagai and Sauaso Sue, and suddenly, the Wests Tigers pack resemble a far different prospect from what they did last season.
And that’s made the entire team a different prospect to handle as well.
“Our players are on fire this year,” said Woods. “Pat Richards and David Nofoaluma are scoring tries like there’s no tomorrow; boys playing well right across the park.
“It was disappointing in Round 1 when we lost against the Dragons.
“We don’t want to use excuses but a lot of us were sick. We had it pretty bad with illness during the week. It was still very disappointing the way we played against the Dragons, but the way we bounced back against the Titans and Souths was good.
“Last week’s loss to the Warriors was disappointing,” he conceded. “We played for 25 minutes again, and then dropped off, and we just can’t do that and expect to win.”
Woods knows that the team will need to play their best to take down a high-flying Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles side this weekend, but having already posted strong victories over two big packs in the Gold Coast Titans and South Sydney Rabbitohs, he’s confident that the squad has what it takes to continue their unbeaten home record this weekend.
Click here to see Wests Tigers team to take on Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles!
“We’re looking forward to turning it around at Leichhardt this weekend,” he said.
“We know that we can.”
And should they do just that, there’s no doubting Woods will be the first one celebrating — likely with a meal and his mates at his favourite restaurant.
“Easy,” laughs Woods.
“Chicken schnitzel, cheese and sauce, Cesare’s No Names, Norton Street, Leichhardt”.
My favorite tigers player . Legend
Sabre last edited by
I really like the way Woods is coming along as a clubman. Could be a future Wests Tiger captain.
I hope we’ve got no names locked in as a TPA