Wiser Woods ready to rip into Maroons
Wests Tigers and NSW prop Aaron Woods says he is far better prepared for the State of Origin cauldron this in his second season in Blues colours, and says the job in front of him is pretty simple.
"I'm a lot more confident, more experienced. I sort of bought into the week too much last year, worrying about the little things and not worrying about myself so I can't wait for next Wednesday," Woods told journalists after the squad's first training session.
"It was pretty tough [last year], I sort of bought into the week, I wasted a lot of energy going into the games, I felt a bit flat in the games.
"We were a bit all over the shop, we got ambushed up in Queensland [26-6 in Game 2] which didn't help. I just can't wait for next Wednesday to change it. Now I know how to handle myself a lot better and I already feel a lot better."
He said he has changed his mindset and is now better able to get his mind away from footy when he needs to, and handle the pressure better, with last year's Origin experience also boosting his 2014 club form.
"It's probably the experience [from] Origin – I was worried about too many things other than myself. This year I'm just worrying about myself and when it comes to game day just be happy and not take anything for granted," he said.
"I work with one bloke in particular, he just told me to get away from rugby league and when you're away from the game just switch off and don't worry about things that aren't needed."
As one of just two specialist props in the squad along with Cowboys and Kangaroos bookend James Tamou, Woods says he has been given a simple role from coach Laurie Daley.
"He just wants us to go forward and keep punching through the middle and let no-one come through us. Nice and easy! They say it's the simplest role and hardest to come off."
Woods said in-form Maroons prop Matt Scott has been one of the best props in the world for the past few years but the Blues would work on a way to slow him down.
"We've just gotta get up in his face and not give him any time. It's pretty much like most of their pack, I think [Nate] Myles as well, once you let them get a roll on – they get a sniff and they love it. We can't let them get a sniff when the opportunity comes."
He said he'll study the games of his opponents looking for the best way to handle them.
"I'll go and watch the tape of Myles and Scott, the way they play, where they run... I've just got to watch the tape and see what's going to come at us.
"[We look for] which side they carry the ball, if he runs overs or unders, his offload."
Woods says he isn't worried about his own stats such as run metres or tackles.
"I just want to punch through the line, try and get elbows and knees, not get dominated and just make my tackles. We haven't focused on it too much with Laurie yet, we got in late last night, we had a little meeting this morning and trained now. We'll have a talk tonight and go through the game plan."