<big>Tigers’ Woods bounces back in NRL</big>
Brought to you by AAP.Published Date:25/05/2011 02:12:00 PM
The impressive form of young gun Aaron Woods has been one of the few constants in an erratic Wests Tigers’ NRL season - something which seemed impossible after his year from hell in 2010.
A highly-rated member of the Tigers’ under-20s squads in recent years, the 20-year-old has long been thought of as a potential star.
But when a series of hamstring injuries restricted Woods to just two matches in the lower grades all last season, the young prop’s rugby league career stalled.
At the worst point, Woods’ hamstring was nearly torn off the bone.
“It got pretty bad, at one stage I had to do nothing for eight weeks and just rest it completely, just to let it regrow and scar up,” said Woods on Wednesday.
"It was the tendon … We just kept trying to look after it week-to-week and then when I felt ready to come back and play again it just kept tearing, it was just so frustrating.
“But it’s something you’ve got to put up with in footy because injuries do happen.”
His ability to bounce back and become a valued member of the Tigers’ top squad has earned him plenty of praise from Tim Sheens’ coaching staff.
But the former Australian Schoolboys representative is delighted just to be involved, rather than watching from the stands.
After impressive pre-season form Woods, who re-signed with the Tigers last week until the end of 2014, made his NRL debut in round one this year.
“I hate watching footy … it’s the worst thing in the world,” said Woods, who is averaging 80 metres and 20 tackles a game.
"Football is what I love, that’s why I always want to be on the field.
"I didn’t really expect things to happen as quickly as they have this year.
"I was just thinking about getting on the field and playing footy and then just hopefully making my way into the team.
"Luckily, the coach gave me a spot and I’ve just been trying to do the basic stuff week to week and not get ahead of myself.
“Honestly, all I want to do is play simple footy, keep it basic and hold onto that bench spot for the rest of the year.”
The likes of Woods, Fifita, Begovich and Groat will be the next generation of props to help take the Tigers into the future once the careers of Galloway and Gibbs start to wind down. It’s pleasing to see the Tigers have 4 very good young props in their system. Woods would have made his debut last year if he had not sustained the chronic hamstring injuries. I suspect Begovich will push for a spot next year too given his form in the NYC this year.