‘Enormous pre-season’: Young gun ready to replace Gal
THE Cronulla No.13 jersey is up for grabs for the first time in almost 20 years and Aaron Woods has backed a local young gun to make the position his own.
Veteran prop Woods told The Daily Telegraph that if he had to choose a replacement for Paul Gallen today, he knows who he'd pick.
"Jack Williams will probably be lock, he's had an enormous pre-season," Woods said.
"But it's hard to say, there's still competition … all the boys have been training that well so it's hard to single out one person."
The 23-year-old Williams made his NRL debut for Cronulla in 2018 and has played 28 NRL games for the club.
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The Sharks must also replace experienced prop Matt Prior, who has just left the Shire after seven years to take up a Super League contract with the Leeds Rhinos.
Woods said ball playing forward Billy Magoulias has emerged as a leading contender for Cronulla's other vacant position.
"He's one of those guys who can do anything, when you think the game's over, you just throw him the ball" Woods said.
"If he doesn't start at 13, he can come on and play off the bench because he's the kind of guy who can play lock, five-eigthth, in, middle, and bit of hooker."
Magoulias dominated in the Canterbury Cup this year and played a key role in the Newtown Jet's thrilling grand final win against the Wentworthville Magpies - the crafty 99kg lock ran 182 metres and still orchestrated a matchwinning play in the dying seconds.
He again stepped up a week later for the Jets, producing a matchwinning chip kick for Jackson Ferris to score and lift Newtown to victory over Burleigh in the NRL State Championship on grand final day.
Woods expects Magoulias to rotate through the forward pack this year and believes the 22-year-old is ready to step up.
"If Billy can play 25 games for us I think that'd be a massive boost for the Sharks," the forward said.
"He's such a great player, he's got so much value, whether he's going to play direct and hard or a bit fancy,"
"And he's already played two NRL games, we know he's already up to that standard."