NSW great Steve Roach has fired back at critics of Blues prop Aaron Woods, saying statistics only tell part of the story.
Woods was on Thursday described by Queensland newspaper the Courier-Mail as a weak link after running for an average of 51 metres in his five State of Origin appearances since making his debut in 2013.
The 24-year-old front-rower has been in terrific form for the Wests Tigers this year, averaging 186 metres.
However he boasts the worst running metres of any NSW starting prop in Origin history and his Origin average is about half of Queensland’s starting pair of Nate Myles (93m) and Matt Scott (106m).
“I watched his first game (for NSW) and we didn’t have the ball for 15 minutes – it’s hard to make yards or have an impact when you don’t have the ball,” former Balmain Tiger Roach said.
“Stats are only right 80 per cent of the time. They don’t tell the whole story.
“What they don’t tell you about is those little one per centers – things like diving on the ball and kick chases.
“Everyone gets tied up in stats. When I was playing the only thing I was thinking about was who you wanted to play with or have out there with you. There’s no stats for that.”
Roach said Woods was ready-made for Origin the NSW pack and bench was one of their strengths.
“I’ve known (Woods) since he was 12,” Roach said.
“He’s the kind of guy that will make sacrifices to win and I think we’ll see that on Wednesday.”
A NUMBERS GAME
The average State of Origin running metres of Queensland and NSW’s forwards selected for the series opener at ANZ Stadium on Wednesday.
* Andrew Fifita – 108m
* Matt Scott – 106m
* Ryan Hoffman – 103m
* Nate Myles – 93m
* Corey Parker – 88m
* Sam Thaiday – 77m
* Aidan Guerra – 77m
* James Tamou – 74m
* Boyd Cordner – 62m
* Beau Scott – 58m
* Jacob Lillyman – 53m
* Aaron Woods – 51m
* Trent Merrin – 50m
* Matt Gillett – 44m
* Josh Jackson, David Klemmer, Josh McGuire – on debut