ELLIS CONFIDENT WOODS AND GROAT CAN DELIVER
By Wayne Cousins
24/10/2011 2:20:28 PM
Gareth Ellis is confident talented young props Aaron Woods and Matthew Groat can deliver the muscle up front in 2012.
Ellis – the winner of the Wests Tigers Player of the Year for the past three consecutive seasons – firmly believes Woods and Groat will stand up again after their superb debut season in the NRL in 2011.
The retirement of Todd Payten combined with the departures of Bryce Gibbs and Andrew Fifita leaves Keith Galloway as the only experienced prop in the Wests Tigers engine room.
Woods and Groat will be fighting for the vacant prop spot alongside new signing Matthew Bell. Storm international Adam Blair, more a recognised back-rower, can also play front row if required.
Ellis said he was very impressed with Woods and Groat after stepping up from the U20s ranks.
“Some stand out players in the 20s come up to the NRL and don’t quite cut the mustard,’’ Ellis said.
“For Aaron and Matt to do it, and being front-rowers as well, it was a massive achievement in their first year.
“Aaron has such a mature head on young shoulders and that’s what stood him in good stead.
“He has a great attitude and his selection in the Kangaroos train-on squad shows how highly he is thought of.
“Aaron also showed plenty of character in the way he fought back from what was a career threatening hamstring injury.
“For a young player to get over that, to knuckle down and to produce the performances he did this season, was remarkable.”
Ellis said Groat had plenty of untapped potential and his selection in the Australian Junior Kangaroos side proved it.
“If Matt can have a great off-season and spend quality time with our senior players, it should bring him on massively for next year,’’ Ellis said.
“I’m sure we will see the best of Matt Groat in the next one or two years.”
Go the bookends :sign:
Groat will be a monster after the off season He will be seriously scary size wise He has so much to work with
These two seriously excite me…potential, genuine superstars that are coming through the ranks at a very early age.
They have the size, they have the skill, they have the courage. Once they learn the finer points of being a week in week out 1st grade prop forward they will be unstoppable.
I expect a big 2012 and a massive 2013 from these guys…