Player movement in the NRL before the June 30 deadline has been relatively subdued compared to recent seasons, but Cronulla have added a big piece to their premiership puzzle with the acquisition of Canterbury prop Aaron Woods.
The Bulldogs, in dire salary-cap trouble, have been looking to offload cattle – and marquee prop Woods, who only linked with the club from Wests Tigers over the summer, eases some pressure on the embattled club.
The move was confirmed on Tuesday morning, with Woods reportedly to be named in the Sharks’ line-up to travel to Auckland for Friday’s clash with the Warriors.
— Telegraph Sport (@telegraph_sport) June 26, 2018
Woods, a veteran of 15 Tests for Australia and 14 Origins for NSW on top of 160 first-grade appearances, has been widely criticised for his form since joining the Bulldogs – despite putting up solid numbers in a struggling team.
He was overlooked by the Blues for this year’s series after playing the previous 14 straight Origins and featuring in the Kangaroos’ 2017 World Cup triumph.
The 27-year-old joins an already formidable Sharks front-row rotation that includes rep stars Andrew Fifita and Matt Prior.
Though he played the first seven seasons of his career at the struggling Tigers, Woods boasts a 7-4 win-loss record against the Warriors.
Okay I've been pretty critical of Aaron Woods the player but feeling for the bloke now. Made a decision to leave Wests Tigers and ends up getting transferred straight out of Canterbury. Can't be good for his state of mind #NRL
— Curtis Woodward (@woodward_curtis) June 26, 2018
“The Bulldogs and Aaron have decided that now is the right time for this move to happen,” Bulldogs CEO Andrew Hill said in a statement.
“It is a difficult decision for both parties, however, both Aaron and the club believe it is in their best interests for this to happen now. What it does allow is for Aaron to join his new club before the upcoming deadline and for the Bulldogs to be able to start to plan for the future with additional cap space. It has been well documented that we have had very little flexibility with our cap going forward and this will now allow us to look to the future with increased flexibility around our options.
“We wish Aaron all the very best for the future.”