Farah helps Woods adapt to captaincy
Demoted Wests Tigers captain Robbie Farah has been a huge help in the club's transition to a new leader, according to the man who replaced him, Aaron Woods.
The pair are not only long-term clubmates but Origin teammates and good mates, and on the eve of his first NRL match as full-time club skipper Woods said Farah has helped make the transition as easy as it could be.
"He has been unreal, from the day I was told I was going to be captain I told him straight away and he said that's great and if you ever need anything, if you ever need any help just call me," Woods said.
While Farah is no longer in any official captaincy role at the club he continues to be a leader through words and actions, according to Woods.
"He does really look after the boys and if at times, Chris [Lawrence], Deano [Dene Halatau] or myself get stuck he jumps in and helps us. He has been awesome."
The laconic Leichhardt junior insisted the increased responsibility hadn't changed his approach to the game one iota.
"It hasn't changed me at all, it is not going to change how I prepare for a game week in week out, obviously I am going to have to say a few more words before a game but that is about it," Woods said.
"I will always lead from my actions, so I won't change at all."
Back-rower Lawrence – a member of the club's leadership group who captained the squad at the Auckland Nines – said Woods had slotted into the role seamlessly.
"Not much has changed in the way that everything is run. We've got our leadership, Robbie's still there, he still leads on the field with his actions and his words and it's not like he's been quiet or not said what he needs to," Lawrence said.
"Woodsy's the type of guy that likes leading with his actions and says few words but when he does have something to say the boys sit up and listen because he obviously means it. We've got the leaders and the older guys in the group who help him along the way as well.
"[Farah is] the NSW hooker, he's our most capped player, he's been the skipper for so long. Particularly with a squad that's pretty young, his experience is invaluable to us. He's been really good and all the leadership group are working well together."
The side host a Warriors outfit who have recruited a few big-name stars to kick-off their season at Campbelltown Stadium on Saturday, and Woods tipped those new recruits to shine early.
"They bought the best out of most of the teams with [Roger Tuivasa-] Sheck and [Issac] Luke, they are two of the best ball runners in the game. We are going to have to be on our game come Saturday.
"They will be ready to go. They are going to be very tough.
"They have a good mobile pack, they have [Shaun] Johnson back from injury as well as Sheck and Luke. They play great ad-lib footy you just have to stop their offloads. If you don't stick in your tackles they are going to have a field day offloading with the likes of Sheck, Luke, and Johnson running off the back of that. Our main aim is to hit and stick and get into the grind nice and early."
With the hit-out to be the club's first operating under the reduced eight-interchange rule, Woods is the prototype player who will become more valuable – a big-minute, hard-working prop – and he said it would take a few weeks to gauge the impacts.
"I don't know that it is going to change too much, when we had 10 a lot of teams finished with nine. I think if they went to six, it would have changed the game completely.
"But in saying that it is going to be one of those things you just have to play and test out and see what it is like," Woods said.