The Daily Telegraph
October 10, 2014 12:00AM
WESTS Tigers and NSW prop Aaron Woods has declared himself “definitely ready” to step-up and fill a concerning void in Australia’s front-row stocks.
With seven frontline props unavailable for the looming Four Nations, Woods will play for Laurie Daley’s Prime Minister’s XIII this Sunday in Kokopo, Papua New Guinea, knowing he could be just 80 minutes from becoming our next Kangaroo.
The PM’s side trained in Cairns on Thursday before flying to PNG on Friday morning to confront the Kumuls.
“I am definitely ready,” Woods told The Daily Telegraph. “I learned a lot in my first year in Origin (in 2013) about growing up.
“This year, the first two Origin games were the toughest I played in my footy career.
“To get through them, and get a win the way we did, I got a lot of confidence out of it. I have learned a lot and I am ready.
“We’ll be out there trying impress ‘Sheensy’ (Test coach Tim Sheens).
“It (an Australian jumper) would mean everything to me. Growing up as a kid, I loved rugby league.
“Playing for your country would be the pinnacle. It is something I always wanted to do, a dream come true.”
Sheens has travelled with the team to monitor the five props — Woods, Brenton Lawrence, Dylan Napa, Josh McGuire and Josh Papalii. It will be a front-row shootout.
“All the spots are on the line and you must perform, that’s what it’s all about,” Woods said. “I was lucky enough to get the call-up from ‘Sheensy’ and I have Sunday to prove myself and hopefully he selects me after the game.
“It (the game versus PNG) will be like a possibles and probables, you know what I mean, and there are a lot of front-rowers out at the moment. I don’t think there are any front-rowers still here who played in the World Cup last year.
“That’s what ‘Sheensy’ said, this game is a trial, a fair dinkum trial, he said he wasn’t pissing on our pocket. He wanted us to bring our A game and prepare properly.
“He said last year a couple of guys got picked from it and I think the same thing will happen again. I can’t wait to play come Sunday.”
Woods says State of Origin was a huge learning experience for him.
Woods represented the PM’s XIII two years and has since played State of Origin, helping NSW to break the eight-year drought this year.
He is no doubt a frontrunner. Canterbury’s David Klemmer is another chance, as is Jacob Lillyman and Aiden Tolman
Daley said: “Woodsy’ was great during Origin. He is ready for a massive game on Sunday,.
“There are front-row spots open in the Test side. I am sure all the front-rowers in this side will step-up on Sunday.”