Emotion yet to hit Woods
Wests Tigers skipper Aaron Woods says the emotion of his impending move to the Bulldogs hasn't sunk in yet after his current club ended 2017 with an entertaining 28-16 win over the Warriors.
The representative front-rower will link up with the Bulldogs on a four-year deal starting in 2018 but his mind was well and truly on the job as he and Roosters-bound James Tedesco said farewell to the club with typically tireless performances in front of a healthy crowd at Leichhardt Oval.
While the departing duo were the star attractions on Sunday night, the future looks bright for Ivan Cleary's men with a stack of youngsters showing they are ready for first grade following an impressive finish to the season.
"It hasn't really hit me too much at the moment but I was just really happy to get the win and to enjoy it with Ivan and my teammates," Woods said after the game.
"I tried not to think about it all week. I just tried to put in a good performance for the team. If I had have thought about it I would have worried it about too much and I would have gone out there and played some silly football.
"I spoke to 'Teddy' at the start of the week and we put the team first; we didn't want to mention any of the farewell stuff. We wanted to go out there and get the win and then really have a good time with the boys. It'll kick in a couple of weeks down the track, but as I said, I'm really happy to enjoy it with Ivan and the boys."
Woods finished the game with 224 metres, 37 tackles and five offloads and left nothing in the tank during his 73 minutes on the field.
"It's not just today; he's been good for a while. He's done a really good job since he's come back from Origin," Cleary said.
"It's been a difficult year for him personally and there have been a lot of different challenges, but I think he's led the team really well. He'll certainly leave this place with a lot of fans, which I think is important."
Woods's decision to leave the Tigers after seven seasons of service wasn't received well by fans at the time with some going to the extreme length of booing their skipper when his name appeared on the big screen ahead of the Round 8 game against Canterbury.
However, there were no hard feelings on Sunday night with 10,231 Tigers supporters cheering the big man and Tedesco as they did a lap of honour after the game.
Woods might be a Bulldog next year but don't be surprised to see him on the Wayne Pearce Hill as he watches the men in black and gold continue to grow under Cleary's tutelage.
"The fans are fans – they love the club. They were pretty disappointed at the time when everything happened,' Woods said.
"It was good that we got Ivan in place because he really calmed things down for us and just gave little jobs for me and Teddy to worry about. If you let the footy do the talking then you can change the fans' perspective.
"Our fans have really dug deep and stuck solid through what's been a pretty tough year. They've got Ivan on board and he's made some really good signings for next year so the club's in a really good place. I think it's a really good future for the boys.
"I'm leaving, but I reckon I'll be at a lot of Tigers games next year supporting all my old teammates."