Woods’ salute to departing Tiger Halatau

He’s the Wests Tigers No.9 and premiership winner who captain Aaron Woods wants to send out a winner – but his name’s not Robbie Farah.

While many have protested against Farah’s axing at Concord that is spiralling towards an acrimonious exit, another veteran rake Dene Halatau is set to quietly depart the club when he retires at the end of the season.

But not if Woods has anything to do with it.

With the depleted Tigers still a mathematical chance of sneaking into the top eight, Woods is as motivated as ever to fight to the death in the final two regular-season games of the year.

“I just want to send him out a winner. I just want to do our best for Deano,” Woods told AAP.

“He’s a club legend, he’s won a comp in 2005 and he’s just a great fella.

“I feel it’s myself and the boys’ job to do everything we can, not just to try and make the eight for the boys, but also for Deano. He’s worked really hard and shaped the culture of this team.”

Farah has long been the face – and the voice – out in Tigerland since he arrived onto the scene alongside Halatau at the Tigers in 2003, two years before they raised the premiership trophy.

But even though Halatau was later squeezed out for three years to Canterbury, where he was 18th man in the side’s grand-final loss to Melbourne in 2012, Woods is adamant he’s been just as influential as Farah.

Halatau’s leadership has been particularly crucial since his homecoming in 2014 and is why he was named as a co-vice captain with Chris Lawrence last summer in coach Jason Taylor’s leadership shake-up.

“Deano’s one of the best role models as well – especially for the young Polynesian kids in our squad,” Woods said.

“Deano’s a Kiwi fella, but the way he talks, he holds himself really high. It’s something that those young boys do look up to and, to Deano’s credit, he talks to them non-stop.”

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