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Woods ready for Origin cauldron: Daley

The cauldron that is Suncorp Stadium on State of Origin night is no place to be blooding a young front-rower into rugby league's toughest arena.
Woods ready for Origin cauldron: Daley
by AAP

By Joe Barton

SYDNEY, June 16 AAP - The cauldron that is Suncorp Stadium on State of Origin night is no place to be blooding a young front-rower into rugby league's toughest arena.

But so impressed has Laurie Daley been with the way Aaron Woods has carried a threadbare Wests Tigers pack for the past two seasons, he hasn't a concern in the world about how the 22-year-old will handle the occasion.

Woods will make his NSW debut in game two on June 26 after being named by Daley on Sunday as the replacement for the suspended James Tamou, who was stood down after being charged with high-range drink driving last week.

"He's a young guy but we're sure he'll be able to handle the atmosphere up there at Lang Park (Suncorp Stadium)," Daley said on Sunday.

"For us, an Origin game no matter where you play is always going to be very difficult.

"It's always going to be a challenge. And we believe Aaron will be up to it."

While replacing Tamou is no easy task, Woods' apprenticeship has been served over the past two seasons when he's quickly risen as the Tigers' forwards leader.

It was a role thrust upon him last year when inspirational second-rower Gareth Ellis spent much of the season sidelined with a foot injury.

And it was re-enforced from the early rounds in 2013 when Woods lost his front-row partner Keith Galloway to a pectoral injury.

The result has been outstanding - Woods finishing matches with more than 40 tackles and getting close to the 200m mark with his powerful carries.

It has certainly caught the eye of Daley, who opted for the 194cm monster ahead of Penrith's Tim Grant.

"I think Aaron's certainly handled every challenge he's confronted so far this year," Daley said on Sunday.

"He's a big kid. He's a tough kid. He's very talented."

Daley admitted Grant, who is sidelined with a broken hand, and Newcastle veteran Willie Mason, were strongly considered.




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