Long wait over for Woods and Galloway
Wests Tigers' State of Origin front row of Aaron Woods and Keith Galloway will play just their second game together in 12 months when they host competition heavyweights South Sydney on Friday night.
Last week's comprehensive defeat of the Titans was the first time the senior pairing had featured in the same Wests Tigers side since their Round 2 win over Penrith last season.
In fact, it had been 18 months since the experienced duo made the run-on side alongside each other, highlighting the heavy injury the toll the club has suffered in recent seasons.
"It's really big for us. [Aaron] is a really good forward and a few years ago we had a really good partnership going. Hopefully we can get back to our winning ways," Galloway said.
Woods began last season coming off the bench when Galloway succumbed to a pectoral injury in just the third game of the year, sidelining him for the next four months.
But by the time the one-time Origin prop returned in Round 20, Woods' season was prematurely ended by a knee problem that brought forward a complicated stem cell surgery procedure.
"I played the first two games of last year and Woodsy was just coming back so he didn't play [much] and then I finally got back on the field with about seven games to go and he was out for the rest of the year. [Last] weekend was the first time we've played for a long time," Galloway said.
Added Woods: "It's good to have Keith back. I didn't play with him at all last year, [except] I played one game and he did his pec. It's good play with the big fella again.
"It's been a while. When Keith started last year I only just got back from injury, and then he got ruled out. We work well there with each other."
Before his season ended early, Woods was enjoying a breakthrough season that included an entire Origin campaign. His combination with Galloway, who played one game for NSW in 2011, was seen as a major factor in last Sunday's pummelling of the Titans.
But Galloway insisted his teammates weren't getting carried away the win, particularly with a sterner test against South Sydney's monstrous forward pack on Friday.
"To be honest, I don't think Gold Coast really rated us," Galloway said. "I don't think they turned up with the intensity to do well. I'm not reading too much into that win. This weekend will be a massive test to see where we're at."
The return of workhorse forward Liam Fulton is another boost for the home side, who host the first of four games to be played at ANZ Stadium in the first season of a 10-year deal that includes free public transport to and from the game.