By Wayne Cousins
13/09/2011 2:21:19 PM

Tim Sheens had nothing but praise when asked about the rise of impressive young props Aaron Woods and Matt Groat.

Sheens has always been a firm believer that age is no barrier to playing first grade if you are good enough.

Football Manager Alan Mair, a trusted offsider to Sheens at Penrith and at Wests Tigers, said the game’s most experienced coach had always backed his judgement.

“Tim has never been afraid to give a young player at go…At Penrith, he brought through Greg Alexander at 18 and then at Canberra, there was Laurie Daley and Bradley Clyde. Brad was only 18 too when he made his first grade debut, ‘’ Mair said.

“You just have to look at the Wests Tigers players who have come from the U20s ranks in recent seasons in Blake Ayshford, Tim Moltzen, Simon Dwyer, Rob Lui, Andrew Fifita and Jacob Miller.

“Tim also promoted Ben Murdoch-Masila to make his NRL debut in the semi-finals last year. Not many coaches would do that but that’s why
Tim is always ahead of the pack. His proven track record speaks for itself.”

Sheens said Groat and Woods had been very good for the team. Woods made his NRL debut against the Bulldogs in round one and Groat made his against St George-Illawarra in round 12.

Woods has since played 23 matches and Groat 9 first grade games.

“They have added to our go forward with big Keith Galloway and with Gibbsy’s determination in defence, had rubbed off on them as well,’’ Sheens said.

“I think all four of them have done a good job for the team. They have been a big part, a big part, in how we have gone this year.

“Our centre has been pretty tight defensively and our size is much bigger with those two boys in the squad.

“Neither of them expected to be in first grade and I didn’t expect them to be their particularly. That’s the way it worked out.

“I thought they might have got a few games. Aaron has had 20 plus appearances. I wouldn’t call them games when you talk about interchange these days. Aaron has had his starting games as well which is good to see. I’ve gone to him when I’ve had injury.

“I picked the two boys to be the two to go on with it next year and I think they have shown already this year that they will.”

Great stuff boys, keep it up!!!
Smart thinking by Shifty giving the boys a wrap before a big game this weekend. And they certainly deserve it.

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