Sharks are loud and proud and Aaron Woods loves it
Aaron Woods has played in some formidable packs in his career but the Sharks forwards are by far the loudest he's come across.
The 27-year-old front-rower has played 15 Tests and 14 games for NSW, along with his 162 NRL games.
But in just his third match with new club Cronulla, Woods' ears are finally getting used to all the chatter among the Shire men.
"Gal [Paul Gallen] is our big leader but Andrew [Fifita] is quite vocal… seems every forward here has a voice and they're worth listening to.
"It's a really good group. Everyone is loud and everyone has really good input."
His addition to a club that was already bursting with representative forwards like Gallen, Fifita, Matt Prior, Wade Graham and Luke Lewis means a deep well of knowledge he is dipping into.
"Definitely. There are so many good leaders around here, with Gal and Lewie who I really respect, and the little things they tip us up on throughout the game in both attack and defence," Woods told NRL.com.
"I look up to them. And when you go through those tough periods in a game, to have those guys around me really helps.
"They are a really good group to be around."
Some might expect Woods to be feeling a little anxious. He's had three clubs and four coaches in the space of a year. He was a Tiger in July 2017, then a Bulldog from March-June 2018, and now a Shark.
That means he's worked under Jason Taylor, Ivan Cleary, Dean Pay and now Shane Flanagan.
"Shane has been good. He is challenging me all the time. I have had a few coaches in the past and because every one of them is different, you pick up new things all the time," Woods said.
"Coaches are 24/7 and love their footy so it's good to hear their take on things."
It's also very comforting that after a seven-year break, Woods is heading back to the NRL finals.
"It wasn't the reason I came here. It was the salary cap stuff at the Bulldogs but as a bonus, it's given me the opportunity to play with a club in the top eight.
"I'm going to take it with both hands. It's really exciting because I haven't been there since 2011 [with Tigers].
"I've played a lot of rep games, other big games, but it sucks not playing finals.
"I normally hate September because I'm watching footy not playing it."
And the part he plays in this finals campaign could be off the bench as Fifita and Prior are the Sharks regular starting props. It's a new world for Woods, who has been in the Kangaroos and Blues run-on sides.
"You get more nervous as you're waiting 20-25 minutes to get on," Woods said about the change in scenery of being an interchange player.
"I'm just rolling with it and what Flanno gives me each week. I'll do anything for the best interests of the team.
"I look to bring energy off the bench and those little things he wants me to do. With Fifita and Prior laying the platform, I've got to continue that once they come off."
Game three in Sharks colours is on Friday against the Raiders. It is also the first time Woods will feel the love at Southern Cross Group Stadium.
"New home ground. Looks it's exciting for me, and for the club as we're coming off two wins to face Canberra. They're pushing for the eight and we're pushing for the top four. I'm pumped to play here," he said.