Two of the game’s leading prop forwards go head-to-head this weekend in what will be a bruising encounter between Wests Tigers’ skipper Aaron Woods and Cowboys enforcer James Tamou.
Teammates earlier this season for New South Wales, Woods and Tamou come up against one another for the first time in over two years – with this week set to be a crucial game for both sides.
Woods will look to lead his side to an important victory, which would catapult Wests Tigers into the top eight, as the Club currently sits in equal eighth but tenth on for and against.
It’s just as important for Tamou and the Cowboys, with the side suffering a narrow loss to Melbourne last week, North Queensland are on the verge of slipping out of the top four and have a tough run of matches remaining.
If the wet conditions currently experienced in Sydney remain until Sunday, expect to see a grinding encounter that will be won in the middle of the park through the forwards.
Wests Tigers’ big men Sauaso Sue, Tim Grant and Ava Seumanufagai also clash with Matt Scott, Ben Hannant and Jason Taumalolo in a mouth-watering clash that is sure to be quality spectacle for fans on Sunday.
Woods will be out to continue his recent winning ways, with three consecutive victories in Wests Tigers colours, combined with a win over Queensland for the Blues in State of Origin Game III.
Look out for a brutal match-up between two good mates as Woods welcomes Tamou and the Cowboys back to Leichhardt Oval.
Woods has the upper hand over his New South Wales counterpart on an NRL level, winning four out of his five clashes against Tamou.
The pair haven’t played each other since Round 6 of the 2014 season, with Woods coming out on top in his side’s 16-4 victory in front of a home crowd at Campbelltown Sports Stadium.
Tamou has a horrid record against Wests Tigers, winning just two games from his nine career clashes against the Club, which is his least amount of wins against any other Club in his 161 career games.
Alternatively, Woods has won four from six matches against the defending premiers, however the last time faced the Cowboys was a 64-6 defeat in Townsville.
Return to 2040…
Woods will play at his beloved Leichhardt Oval this weekend for the first time since Round 2.
The Leichhardt junior played in Wests Tigers’ win over Manly-Warringah earlier in the year, but was ruled out of the Club’s Round 7 game against Melbourne with an ankle injury.
With three out of the remaining regular season games at home, Woods and co. will be calling on Members and fans to get behind the team as they look to secure a place in the finals.
Woods still on the duck egg…
If 2015 is anything to go by, Woods likes leaving it until the very last minute to get off the dreaded “nudie run”.
The 25-year-old went until Round 26 without scoring a try, before getting over the line in the final match of the season against St. George Illawarra.
With 14 matches already under his belt this year, Woods is yet to cross for a try and will have the line in his sight over the next few weeks.
Woods is yet to go a season without scoring a try, crossing in every year since making his NRL debut in 2011.
Other players yet to score a try in season 2016 include Dene Halatau, Tim Grant and Joel Edwards.
What he said…
“They (North Queensland) aren’t the reigning premiers for no reason,” Wests Tigers skipper Aaron Woods said on Wednesday.
“They have been in really good form but got beaten on the weekend by Melbourne but they didn’t have JT (Jonathan Thurston).
“I think he will probably be back this week, so we have been training as if he will be playing.
“It’s going to be a massive challenge, we are really going to see where we are at with this game.
“The thing with our Club at the moment is that the boys are all really excited and they can’t wait for Sunday arvo at Leichhardt,” he said.