Woods keen on NSW leadership role
If you wanted another reason to bolster Aaron Woods's New South Wales captaincy credentials look no further than the way he handled himself following Adam Reynolds' Origin withdrawal.
Woods was the man faced with the task of addressing the media immediately after Reynolds was ruled out of State of Origin III on Wednesday afternoon despite only just being informed of the halfback's plight himself.
While the Wests Tigers skipper's media session had been pre-scheduled, the task at hand was hardly anticipated.
Woods was also asked about the NSW captaincy – with current skipper Paul Gallen to retire at series end – and said while he's not focused on the matter he would love the little 'c' next to his name in the future.
The 25-year-old pointed out it was only his first season as captain of the Tigers after replacing Robbie Farah but said he had learned much from Gallen over the course of his Origin career.
"I still have a lot to learn. You speak to all the great leaders around and they'll tell you they learn every year. It's something I love doing but I'm in no rush, I just want to make sure I'm in this Origin side firstly," Woods said.
He added: "I like playing under Gal. He is a lot calmer compared to others I've played with. Robbie is a very intense guy and he always wants to win but Gal is a lot calmer than him. I base my captaincy around that sort of stuff.
"Gal doesn't say too much but when he does, you know where it's coming from. He leads with his actions so when you do go out on the field there's no other bloke you'd rather go to war with."
On Reynolds' withdrawal, Woods lamented the Blues' would miss the premiership-winner's kicking game.
"It's not an ideal situation. We wanted him to be here but he obviously didn't train with us. He spent time with the physio and just knew it wasn't right. At the end of the day he's put himself before the team so he's done the right thing by us," Woods said.
"His kicking game will be most missed by us. He has one of the best kicking games in the comp. He played a major role in the Rabbitohs' premiership win with his kicking game and it's something we'll certainly miss."
With Matt Moylan confirmed as Reynolds replacement, Woods said both the Panthers skipper and Sharks utility Jack Bird were capable of doing a job at five-eighth, with it yet to be confirmed who will partner James Maloney in the halves.
"Jack's a really good, confident kid. He backs his ability. He played five-eighth last year for Cronulla and how far he came in just one year of footy and the progress he made was unbelievable," Woods said.
"Jack could take his game to another level and play five-eighth in Origin but we players aren't calling the shots either. I think he'll handle the occasion though if it does happen."