The NSW VB Blues have received a significant boost ahead of the 2017 Holden State of Origin series, with news that forward leader Aaron Woods may return to the NRL this weekend.
Woods, who went down with a hamstring injury in the Tigers' Round 9 clash with the Sharks, subsequently missed the Kangaroos' Trans-Tasman Test with the Kiwis the following weekend - and had been initially expected to miss the first two Origin encounters. A quicker-than-expected recovery, however, will see him take on the Broncos in this Friday's clash at Suncorp Stadium - the scene of a potential Origin berth 12 days later.
Earlier, Laurie Daley declared that it was vital for Woods to complete at least one game in the NRL if he were to be considered for Origin I selection.
"Woodsy definitely needs a game under his belt," Daley tells NSWRL.com.au. "I think it's too much of an ask for a front-rower to go into an Origin game without football under his belt.
"As a front-rower, you need them to be match-hardened."
Woods has been named in the familiar no.8 jersey and resumes captaincy of the Tigers, with the aim of putting forward another strong performance to secure his place in Daley's side. In his last full game - against future club the Bulldogs in Round 8, the 11-time NSW representative earned Man of the Match honours and a VB Blues Team of the Week selection.