Tigers props look to hit benchmark
He was Australia's No.1 enforcer during the Four Nations last year, but Wests Tigers prop Aaron Woods says he and front row partner Keith Galloway need to up their games this season if they're to match the NRL's benchmark for big men.
In recent years, Woods said that he and Galloway had challenged themselves to reach the 100 metre mark each match – an output that the pair had put up more often than not.
But Woods said Cowboys pair Matt Scott and James Tamou had upped expectations for the modern day NRL front-rower, and it was up to them to go with the times.
"Talking Keithy to about it, we just wanted to do 100 metres a game, that was it really," he said last week.
"[But] then as it went through the year, we wanted to test where the other props in the comp as well, and you got Matt Scott and James Tamou, they're averaging 140.
"Keith and I challenge ourselves to see if we can get to that level. We don't want to focus all on the metres, we also want to show that we can push up and do what's best for the side."
Galloway labelled Scott "arguably the best prop in the game" and said it was important to compare themselves to the competition's elite big men.
"They're definitely the benchmark forwards, they're at the top," he said. "Matty Scott's arguably the best prop in the game. He's obviously the benchmark for a lot of guys. You look at guys like that and what they're doing and you try and get to those levels."
At 29 years of age and entering his 13th season in the NRL, Galloway is the second-longest active servant at the club behind Robbie Farah.
After moving from Cronulla to Concord in 2006, he has been a staple of the side's starting side – a position he admits will be under threat this year from the rise of Kiwi representative Martin Taupau.
"I can definitely feel the challenge. Marty's an animal," Galloway said. "He's a different sort of athlete to myself. He's a freak, he's as strong as anything, and he's quick. It's healthy for the club. There's some good depth here, so it's exciting for this year."
The Wests Tigers open their season against a battling Titans outfit at Cbus Stadium on Saturday night in what will be coach Jason Taylor's first game in charge.