13 March 1991 |
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
|Height||194 cm (6 ft 4 in)|
|Weight||109 kg (17 st 2 lb)|
As of 4 September 2017
Aaron Woods (born 13 March 1991) is an Australian rugby league footballer who currently plays for the Canterbury Bulldogs in the National Rugby League. He previously captained Wests Tigers. His position is prop. He has represented Australia, and New South Wales in State of Origin.
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."
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. He attended Holy Cross College, Ryde, and represented NSW Catholic Colleges when he was 17. In 2008, he played for the Australian schoolboys side.
In 2009, Woods played for Wests Tigers' Toyota Cup side in their run to the Grand Final, but 2010 was mired by injury, with his hamstring coming close to being torn completely off the bone. 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. He was described as one of, "the State's best crop of young talent."
Woods made his NRL debut for the Wests Tigers at the start of the 2011 season, the day after his 20th birthday. He came off the bench with 20 minutes remaining in the game against Canterbury. Woods later said, "It was a Monday night against a pretty handy side. It was unreal. I’ll never forget running at Andrew Ryan and Corey Payne, thinking gee this is the NRL. I got up thinking far out, that was a good hit. But after that the nerves were gone."
Woods scored 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." He was named the club's rookie of the year.
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. 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."
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." 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. 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. At the end of the year he was nominated for Prop of the Year at the Dally M awards. 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."
In 2013, Woods made his State of Origin debut in game two after James Tamou was suspended for a drink-driving offence. 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. Woods later signed a contract to remain with the Wests Tigers for a further three seasons.
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."
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. 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, and then contributed to the team winning its first series in nine years.
Woods finished 2014 as the Tigers' leader in offloads and hitups, 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."
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", 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.
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?" 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. 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. However, in the third match, Woods was criticised for conceding too many penalties in the Blues series-deciding loss.
Despite missing games due to State of Origin and injury, Woods was in the competition's top 20 players for hit-ups and yardage and was named at prop in the NRL website's team of the year. In the absence of Robbie Farah, Woods captained Wests Tigers in 4 matches, all of which were losses. Woods capped off the 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.
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."
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. 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. He had the most metres for any forward on the ground when NSW won the third game of the series.
Making 19 appearances for Wests Tigers, he was the club's leader in hit ups, and had a club-high average of 160 metres per game in attack. At year's end, he was chosen in the Australian squad for the Four Nations, but was absent from the test against New Zealand due to his wedding. Coach Mal Meninga said, "The timing is not perfect but family comes first and you’ve got to keep the wives happy don’t you?" He was the starting prop in all four Four Nations matches, which were all victories.
With Woods link to Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, the Wests Tigers imposed a deadline for Woods to re-sign by 21 April. When Woods' manager did not respond by the cut-off, the Tigers contract offer was withdrawn. Wests Tigers CEO Justin Pascoe said, "We're really comfortable with the fact that we afforded the players every opportunity that we could to stay at the club."
Before the Wests Tigers' next match, which was against the Bulldogs, Woods was booed by sections of the crowd before the game, but was awarded the man of the match for his performance.
28th of April Woods made a 4 year deal with Canterbury Bulldogs. On 30 July 2017, Woods scored his first try of the year as Wests defeated Gold Coast 26-4.
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