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Honest toilers: Veteran Sharks adamant they've got more in tank

When veteran players are fighting for a new contract they will often trot out cliches like they're best years are still to come but Aaron Woods has always been a straight shooter.

Woods and fellow 30-something prop Aiden Tolman are hoping strong finishes to the season will attract potential suitors for 2022.

Refreshingly honest, Woods conceded his best days were "probably behind me" but the former Origin and Test prop believes his leadership qualities and experience offset a slight slowing down in his on-field impact.

Woods turns 31 at the start of next season and has 224 club appearances to go with 14 Origin and 17 Test jerseys – but the lack of a premiership remains a driving force.

"I love just playing footy; I know my best years are probably behind me but I've got a lot of leadership and I'd love to help out some younger guys in other teams," Woods said.

"There's still a lot I can offer … there's a lot of desire, I've done a lot in the game but I haven't won a competition yet. That's one of the main striving factors and one of the main things I want to do.

"I've still got the passion to play every week and I just love it, I love being around the boys."

That drive to win a competition is "massive", he added.

"It's always something you look at. I've won Origin series, won a World Cup, Four Nations, I just haven't got that premiership ring a long of guys have got.

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"You look at other clubs … if what I've got will benefit that team. I've just got to keep playing good footy at Cronulla and my management will take care of that."

Woods stressed there was no sense of giving up on 2021 at the Sharks with the side still in the top eight despite a disappointing loss to the Broncos on Sunday.

"We can test this competition and I believe that with this group we’ve got at the moment," he added.

"You have a good month of footy and you're right back up there … if you can string a good four to six weeks together and be nice and consistent you can be right up around that top four or top six. We had a good four weeks, it was disappointing last week and we have to be a lot better."

Unlike Woods ,Tolman was still holding hope of a Cronulla swansong but either way, he is not ready to hang up the boots.

Tolman will be 33 in November and is a chance of playing his 300th game this year if the Sharks make it to the second week of the finals.

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"I'd love to continue to play footy, I'd love to stay here at the Sharks," Tolman said.

"All I can do for my future is keep playing good footy, keep getting picked in the side each week, keep doing my job for the team and hopefully something comes off the back of that.

"With the rule changes I'm still playing plenty of minutes and still getting through plenty of work which I have really my whole career. It hasn't really changed my game too much.

"We'll just have to see what happens in the next month, hopefully something will come up and we'll go from there.

"We've still got nine games here to go at the Sharks and if we play some good footy and get some wins over the next month I'm sure something will pop up."

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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