NRL match preview: Woods and Merrin key men

Two of the finest young forwards in the NRL could well play major roles in leading their team to victory at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Sunday.


Wests Tigers prop Aaron Woods, aged 22, and 23-year-old St George-Illawarra prop turned lock Trent Merrin will be key men for their respective sides when they clash in the Men of League Heritage Round match.


Both players have been in outstanding form since in recent weeks and could well find themselves in representative jerseys come tomorrow night. Rugby league great Peter Sterling earlier this week said Woods could well play for Australia against New Zealand next week. He already is a strong contender for City and NSW Origin selection.


Wests Tigers Coach Mick Potter has been more than pleased with Woods after overcoming a slight knee injury just before the season kicked off.


His contribution has been enormous and very valuable to the team, Potter said.


Whether or not he is going to play for NSW or Australia, Im sure that may happen in the future but he is not worried about that.


He just wants to do the best he can for us. There is a lot of competition for that position and for those teams. He could be lucky, he could be unlucky but he wouldnt look out of place if he was picked.


Aaron has a presence about him. He is a big guy who has a really good go forward. With Keith (Galloway) being out (injured), Aaron is our biggest player on the field and he takes us forward the best.


Potter said Merrin was the X factor in the Dragons pack. Merrin is averaging 130 metres per game and 34 tackles a match.


He has got that offload and is hard to put down. Trent is never quite tackled and when you think he is on the way down, all of a sudden a ball will pop out the back and they have got a second phase coming of it, Potter said.


Trent is one to watch. We know what he has got but it is another thing knowing how to stop it.


Potter said the hard running style of the Dragons had not been lost on him.


There is no doubting their intent to bend you back (wards) and to win good metres. They have been doing a good job of that, he said.


They have got quality players on their edges with Brett Morris, Jason Nightingale and Matt Cooper. We have got to be on our guard.


Ben Creagh is a bit of a go to player for them on the edge. With their middle, they are going to be hard to handle but our players will give their best account of themselves.


With Benji Marshall out injured, Potter has promoted Curtis Sironen to five-eighth to partner Braith Anasta at half-back.


Potter did consider the idea of shifting full-back Tim Moltzen to half-back to allow winger James Tedesco to move back to his preferred full-back role.


Ive been happy with the way Tedesco and Moltzen have been going, Potter added.


I think making one positional change was better than making two or three. I think it is better for the team rather than making a whole heap of changes.


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