Aaron Woods

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For the American football and Canadian football player, see Aaron Woods (gridiron football).
Aaron Woods
Sarah Callaway, Aaron Woods.jpg
Woods (right) at the 2012 Dally M Awards
Personal information
Nickname Woodsy
Born (1991-03-13) 13 March 1991 (age 25)
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Height 194 cm (6 ft 4 in)
Weight 109 kg (17 st 2 lb)
Playing information
Position Prop
Years Team Pld T G FG P
2011– Wests Tigers 121 9 0 0 36
Years Team Pld T G FG P
2012–13 City Origin 2 0 0 0 0
2012–14 Prime Minister's XIII 2 2 0 0 8
2013–16 New South Wales 11 1 0 0 4
2014–15 Australia 5 0 0 0 0
As of 16 August 2016
Source: [1][2]

Aaron Woods (born 13 March 1991) is an Australian rugby league footballer who is currently the captain of the Wests Tigers in the National Rugby League. His position is at prop and he has represented New South Wales in State of Origin.

Early years[edit]

Born in Sydney, Woods was raised by his mother in an apartment above a newsagent on Norton Street, Leichhardt. He has spoken of the influence of the women in his life. He said, "My dog is female, I was a mummy's boy and a nanna's boy, my aunties would bash me and pick on me like a young brother, my missus is strong and stable, my youngest sister is my biggest fan. They’ve all been great for me."[3]

Woods played junior rugby league with Leichhardt Juniors and participated in the Balmain Tigers Development Program. He based his game on players Jason Ryles and Ben Kennedy.[4] He attended St Mary's Cathedral College, Sydney, and later played for Holy Cross College, Ryde, and represented NSW Catholic Colleges when he was 17.[5] In 2008, he played for the Australian schoolboys side.[6]

In 2009, Woods played for Wests Tigers' Toyota Cup side in their run to the Grand Final, but 2010 was mired by injury,[6] with his hamstring coming close to being torn completely off the bone.[7] However, before the start of the 2011 season, Ricky Stuart named him in a "Blues in Waiting" squad, for potential future NSW State of Origin players.[7] He was described as one of, "the State's best crop of young talent."[8]

Playing career[edit]


Woods made his NRL debut for the Wests Tigers at the start of the 2011 season, scoring a try in his 4th appearance. He was a regular in the first-grade team throughout the year, mostly starting from the bench. His first season form was described as, "impressive," and, "one of the few constants in an erratic Wests Tigers' NRL season."[7] He was named the club's rookie of the year.[9]

With the departure of Bryce Gibbs and Todd Payten, Woods became a starting prop at the start of 2012 season. After seven weeks, Woods made his senior representative debut with City Origin.[10] Coach Brad Fittler said of his performance, "I thought he was the best prop on the field. I'm sure he'll build from this, and whether it's this year or next year, he looks like someone who can make the step up."[11]

Woods, 2009

Woods was named as a standby player for NSW in the first two State of Origin matches of 2012, to cover for any late injuries. It was commented in the press that he had, "arguably been the form front-rower of the competition so far."[12] Over the season he made 377 runs for 3455 metres and made 808 tackles, placing him near the best in the NRL in yardage, and in the top twenty in tackles made.[13] He was one only 3 Wests Tigers players to appear in every game throughout the season, and was named the club's Player of the Year.[14] At the end of the year he was nominated for Prop of the Year at the Dally M awards.[15] Steve Roach later said, "He virtually carried them [the Tigers] last year, when Galloway was injured. I reckon, along with James Tamou, he's the best ball-running front-rower in the comp."[16]


In 2013, Woods made his State of Origin debut in game two after James Tamou was suspended for a drink-driving offence.[17] He also played in the third game of the series, but saw limited time on the field in both matches. Playing for the Wests Tigers, Woods was averaging a high 60 minutes per game in an inexperienced front row, before succumbing to injury late in the season.[18] Woods later signed a contract to remain with the Wests Tigers for a further three seasons.[19]

Despite a lucrative offer from the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles, Woods say he was unable to leave Wests Tigers. "It was a mental thing. I love to be in the comfort zone, so I stayed here. Also, the Wests Tigers looked after me. I had a few injuries and they stuck by me; guess I was ready to give back what they gave to me."[4]

Thought by some to be the form prop during the early NRL rounds, he was considered unlucky not to be selected in the 2014 ANZAC Test.[20] Woods went on to be named as a starting prop for New South Wales in the 2014 State of Origin series. He was one of three NSW players to carry the ball 100 metres in game one,[21] and then contributed to the team winning its first series in nine years.

Woods finished 2014 as the Tigers' leader in offloads and hitups,[22] scoring a personal best 4 tries. In round 9, he co-captained the side for the first time with Chris Lawrence. At the end of the season, Woods was again chosen to play for Prime Minister's XIII, scoring two tries, and was described as "the dominant player up the middle."[23]

"A 114kg prop, with hair like a samurai, beard of a lumberjack, a throwback gut from the 70s."

−Andrew Webster [24]


In May, Woods was chosen as one of Australia's starting props in the Anzac Test. Despite Woods making, "plenty of metres" and having, "a strong work rate",[25] the team suffered a comprehensive defeat. A third of the way through the season, Woods was averaging 215 metres a game, 50 more than the next best prop in the competition.[26]

Woods was again chosen as a starting prop for NSW in the 2015 State of Origin series. Playing in a losing side in game one, he ran for 141 metres with the ball and made 41 tackles without a miss, with the Herald Sun asking, "Is there any doubting now he's the game's new top prop?"[27]

In the second game, he ran for a game-high 150 metres and brushed past opponent Matt Scott to score a try in the second half that saw NSW take a match-winning lead.[28] Although not awarded the Man of the Match, he was given 3 Dally M points for being rated the best player on the field, momentarily placing him first on the Dally M leader-board.[29] However, in the third match, Woods was criticised for conceding too many penalties in the Blues series-deciding loss.[30]

Despite missing games due to State of Origin and injury, Woods was in the competition's top 20 players for hit-ups and yardage[31] and was named at prop in the NRL website's team of the year.[32] In the absence of Robbie Farah, Woods captained Wests Tigers in 4 matches, all of which were losses.[citation needed]

Woods capped off the 2015 season with the Dally M Prop of the Year award and finished runner up in the Dally M Player of the Year to Johnathan Thurston.[33][34]


Woods succeeded Farah as Wests Tigers captain from 2016. He claimed his leadership technique was to, "just remain calm. People ask how the captaincy has changed things for me but I'll never change my role in the side no matter what I have next to my name. We're all equal... I just do a little bit more talking at press conferences, man."[35]

A "near certain" selection for the Anzac Test, Woods was unable to play after suffering ligament damage and bone bruising in his ankle in round 6. At the time, he was the competition's leader for metres gained with the ball.[36] He returned in round 10 and was chosen for New South Wales. The Blues lost the first 2 games, but Woods was described as, "The best prop on the ground in the first half with several strong carries. The only NSW forward to run 100 metres," in game 2.[37] He had the most metres for any forward on the ground when NSW won the third game of the series.[38]


  1. ^ League Central
  2. ^ Aaron Woods rugbyleagueproject.org
  3. ^ Patrick Skene (7 July 2015). "NSW State of Origin star Aaron Woods: the family man with a warrior spirit". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 May 2016. 
  4. ^ a b Lane, Daniel (5 April 2014). "One-time Manly fan Aaron Woods gives Wests Tigers pack a punch". Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax. Retrieved 17 June 2014. 
  5. ^ Chris Karas (23 July 2008). "Sports News". Weekly Times. Retrieved 29 March 2011. 
  6. ^ a b "Aaron Woods". weststigers.com.au. Retrieved 29 March 2011. 
  7. ^ a b c Joe Barton (26 May 2011). "Tigers glad Woods is making up for lost time". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 26 August 2009. 
  8. ^ "Stuart names 'Blues in waiting'". ABC News. 13 January 2011. Retrieved 29 March 2011. 
  9. ^ "Gareth Ellis is Wests Tigers Player of the Year". Ozzie News. 17 October 2011. Retrieved 3 January 2012. 
  10. ^ Ian McCullough (22 April 2012). "Robbie Farah, Aaron Woods lead way in City's Origin trial win over Country". Daily Telegraph (Sydney). Retrieved 22 April 2012. 
  11. ^ Michael Chammas (23 April 2012). "Woods and Sims leave mark on NSW radar". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 23 April 2012. 
  12. ^ Michael Chammas (11 June 2012). "Farah says Blues will still fire if Grant fails to shake off knock". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 11 June 2012. 
  13. ^ "NRL STATISTICS". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 4 May 2016. 
  14. ^ Wayne Cousins (28 September 2012). "Aaron Woods named Player of the Year". weststigers.com.au. Retrieved 18 December 2012. 
  15. ^ "2012 Dally M Awards Results". League Unlimited. 4 September 2012. Retrieved 12 September 2012. 
  16. ^ Glenn Jackson (26 March 2013). "Young guns prepared to prop up Tigers". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 18 April 2013. 
  17. ^ "State of Origin: Aaron Woods and Josh Dugan called up for NSW for Game II". ABC. 16 June 2013. Retrieved 1 March 2014. 
  18. ^ Tom Sangster (30 January 2014). "NRL SuperCoach no-go zone: players to avoid in 2014 fantasy season". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 1 March 2014. 
  19. ^ "AARON WOODS RE-SIGNS WITH WESTS TIGERS". Zero Tackle. 10 February 2014. Retrieved 1 March 2014. 
  20. ^ Walshaw, Nick (27 April 2014). "Aaron Woods and Andrew Fifita are set to headline a huge City pack against Country". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 19 June 2014. 
  21. ^ Walshaw, Nick (2 June 2014). "State of Origin: Secret inspiration behind Aaron Woods' outstanding performance revealed". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 19 June 2014. 
  22. ^ "NRL Player Stats". thescore.com.au. Archived from the original on 21 September 2014. Retrieved 20 May 2015. 
  23. ^ "PM's XIII defeat valiant PNG". nrl.com. 12 October 2014. Retrieved 12 October 2014. 
  24. ^ Webster, Andrew (18 June 2015). "State of Origin: Aaron Woods the unlikely hero to keep series alive for NSW Blues". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 4 May 2016. 
  25. ^ Toohey, Barry (3 May 2015). "Anzac Test playerratings: Nate Myles' Test career over, Matt Scott on slide". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 20 May 2015. 
  26. ^ Chris Kennedy (5 May 2015). "Tigers love Taupau's aggression". nrl.com. Retrieved 20 May 2015. 
  27. ^ Christian Nicolussi (27 May 2015). "State of Origin I: Aaron Woods fast earning grudging respect from Maroons rivals". Herald Sun. Retrieved 18 June 2015. 
  28. ^ "State of Origin: New South Wales's Aaron Woods seals his star status with standout game two performance". ABC. 18 June 2015. Retrieved 4 May 2016. 
  29. ^ "Dally M Medal: Johnathan Thurston takes lead back from Aaron Woods". Daily Telegraph. 24 June 2015. Retrieved 28 June 2015. 
  30. ^ Nick Walshaw and Dean Ritchie (7 September 2015). "State of Origin game 3: Referees handed Maroons advantage and sucked life out of Blues". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 4 May 2016. 
  31. ^ "All Run Metres". nrl.com. Archived from the original on 6 September 2015. Retrieved 9 September 2015. 
  32. ^ Jack Brady (9 September 2015). "NRL.com's 2015 Team of the Year". nrl.com. Retrieved 4 May 2016. 
  33. ^ "Thurston wins 2015 Dally M Medal". NRL.com. Retrieved 2016-05-05. 
  34. ^ "Home | Live Scores & Latest News". Fox Sports. Retrieved 2016-05-05. 
  35. ^ Daniel Lane (16 March 2016). "Wests Tigers skipper Aaron Woods tells young guns to fear nothing". Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax. Retrieved 4 May 2016. 
  36. ^ "Woods in doubt for Origin I". SBS. Retrieved 4 May 2016. 
  37. ^ Chris Boulous, Adam Pengilly (23 June 2016). "State of Origin 2016: how the players rated". Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax. Retrieved 25 June 2016. 
  38. ^ Martin Gabor (13 July 2016). "Origin III: NSW player ratings". nrl.com.au. 

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