By Wayne Cousins
14/09/2011 3:44:41 PM

Tough young Wests Tigers prop Aaron Woods was aiming to play just a handful of games in 2011 after a frustrating run with a hamstring injury last season.

A Balmain junior with plenty of untapped potential, Woods has become one of the quiet achievers in the Wests Tigers forward pack this season.

The likeable young prop with the friendly nature played two games in 2010, spending most of his time in rehab and doing tremendous community work for Wests Tigers.

Woods ripped into pre-season training in November to ensure he left no stone unturned in 2011. His efforts were rewarded when he made his NRL debut in round one against the Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium.

Twenty-two games later, Woods returned to the same venue last Friday night to play in his first Telstra Premiership qualifying final.

“This time last year, I was watching the finals from home. I just couldn’t get on the field because of the injury,’’ Woods said.

“I appreciate the faith Tim Sheens has shown in me. I only dreamed of playing three to five first grade games this year and I’ve ended up playing 23. Unbelievable.

“It makes it easier when you are playing with blokes like big Saucey (Keith Galloway), Gibbo and Todd Payten.

“What I’ve learnt the most is that you have just got to do your one per centres. You can’t just come to first grade and think you have got your spot.

“You have got to keep working hard. You need to do your extras and do all the little things that count.”

At the age of 20, Woods is already playing the father figure role to raw prop Matt Groat after his rapid rise to first grade from the U20s this season.

“Matt has been going really well. He does his one per centres and extras at training. He is always in the game and does a lot of talking,’’ Woods said.

“It is just good to see young blokes come through. The coach shows a lot of faith in us and allows us to go on to the field and do what can do.

“Andrew Fifita encouraged me to do a lot of talking when I first came into first grade. He made me feel really comfortable.

“I’m just trying to do the same with Groaty.”

Wests Tigers Captain Robbie Farah is a huge Woods fan.

“From round one, Woodsy came into the side and has earned the respect of the players around him through hard work,’’ Farah said.

“His performances have been outstanding. He is a player who probably would have played first grade last year if it wasn’t for injury. This year, he hasn’t looked back. I’m really pleased for him.”

Met him at fusions night spot in cronulla one time….was immensely polite and respectful…has been one of my favourites this season. On ya woodsie !!

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He looked like he could make it in the U20’s and to his credit he has taken the opportunity offered with both hands and made something from it. For a young prop he is showing good maturity and toughness and is making an important contribution to the Wests Tigers team with strong offensive runs and solid defence with the odd bit of niggle- good on him and well done :sign:

Notice how all the players use the same terminology and have the same focus, like “one-percenters”. Sheens obviously runs a tight ship at training and the team, once settled through injury, is performing up to early expectations.

i love hearing when a young bloke is a good trainer, I reckon it is the key indicator if a young player will make it, and everything you read about this kid is about how hard he works. Dont think im going out on a limb to say he has a big future

He (& Groat) have played well recently and will only improve in the coming years. It appears to be a positive move to keep them at the expense of letting others go.

As I’ve said before, I regard him as not only a good footballer but also a smart footballer.

More power to him, long may he develop as Keithy’s starting partner.

Coach Sheens Speaks in Talking Sport earlier in the week dedicates a portion to his thoughts on Woods.

Nice Wrap and considers him a Solid Rep player of the future

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