Blues prop Aaron Woods wants to make the first hit-up of State of Origin game two, and he’s looking to leave a lasting impression on the Maroons.
After struggling with his initiation to Origin last season, the Wests Tigers prop is on the verge of cementing his spot in the NSW side for years to come.
Like all big game players he wants the ball in his hands in the crucial moments and the first hit-up is definitely one of those.
“I want that first hit-up. I want it to be mine – that’s what you play footy for,” he told AAP.
“It’s the start of the game, it is your chance to make a statement, to make that first impression and I hope I get the chance to do that.”
Woods has held his spot in the Blues starting lineup for Wednesday night after NSW’s 12-8 game one win last month.
Skipper Paul Gallen has moved up into the frontrow in coach Laurie Daley’s reshuffled side to accommodate Greg Bird, who missed the series opener through suspension.
James Tamou moves onto the bench.
Much like the first ball of an Ashes series, the first hit-up can set the tone for an Origin game.
Tim Grant’s opening hit-up in his debut Origin match in game two of the 2012 series, which sent Queensland great Petero Civoniceva sprawling on the ANZ Stadium turf, is one of the best remembered.
It helped to set up NSW’s 16-12 win and Woods says he hopes to do the same.
“You can get things started there,” he said.
“The first few minutes, the first 10 minutes are so important, you can set the scene there.
“I want the challenge of that, as a frontrower it’s your job to do that.
“It’s a great chance to set the platform right from the start.”