Aaron Woods’ imminent departure probably isn’t my fault but a part of me feels I could have done more.
It was a standard Saturday in sunny North Queensland. I had just knocked off work, and decided to go watch my beloved Wests Tigers play the North Queensland Cowboys, but little did I know I was going to change the course of my clubs’ history.
The warning signs were there: Mitchell Moses had committed to the Eels, I had finished work a little late that day, I had to speed torturously out to the stadium on my push bike, only to be 5 minutes late! and on top of all this, I used up half my yearly salary to buy the notoriously extortionate stadium food.
I should have known from there that it was going to go downhill. But I had faith in the squad, and I was high off the excitement of being there for club legend, Chris Lawrence, 200th game.
The game was a cracker; Moses looked at his mercurial best, shredding the Cowboys outside defence, and showing a change of pace that would make a Hummingbird blush; James Tedesco was always lurking for offloads – chewing up meters at every opportunity; and Woodsy, oh Woodsy, was having his usual underrated but dominating game, carrying multiple defenders for meters after contact, and sneaking offloads out like a university student sneaking extra food out of a dining hall.
I was ecstatic, the boys were giving Lawrence a great 200th, and we were beating a good team at home, but I just had to go, and overdo it, and ruin everything. I couldnt help myself after one of our early tries and call out:
”We love you Woodsy, surely you are staying?”
8 words. No banter.
He turned, and gave me a coy smile. At the time I thought this meant “Fuck yeah bud, I’ll be back”, a few days later it turned out it meant “Lol, nah”. We’d all hear that Woodsy would be going to the Bulldogs… I was heartbroken.
The man with the hair, the man with the flair, the bloke who gets bashed like no other in the Fox Sports comment section despite playing like a beast, all because he doesn’t do the typical #tough things that props are meant to do, but he was our bloke. The Wests Tigers bloke. And now he is gone.
I guess I’ll never know if I caused Woodsy to leave, if my Bogan sounding bellow was the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back, but I would like to apologise just in case it was. Just in case what sounded like banter made Woodsy go – “You know what Doggies for life bro”.
With the way league contracts go, Woodsy really could be back next year, but if he isn’t, and he does decide to go to the dark side, I implore the Wests Tigers faithful to not do what we did the other week, and boo him on the way out.
It isn’t Woodsy’s fault we don’t win, it isn’t Woodsy’s fault we have gone through roughly 20 coaches since Tim Sheens left, and it isn’t Woodsy’s fault our cap is like this. Can we really blame him for wanting to go somewhere stable for his prime years when the Wests Tigers have lunatics running the asylum?
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