As the Wests Tigers turn their attention towards next season, senior player Aaron Woods has urged the NRL club not to look past signing ageing warhorse Willie Mason.
With veterans Keith Galloway and Pat Richards both moving to the Super League at the end of the year, skipper Robbie Farah is the only player over 30 currently signed on for the 2016 season.
And while the club has invested heavily in its youth movement, 24-year-old Woods said they should be open to recruiting a player of Mason’s experience.
“I don’t know where we’re at with all the signings, but he’d be a really good player for us,” Woods told AAP.
“He’s played for Australia, he’s played for NSW, and he’s a legend of the game.
“Anybody like that would be outstanding, but it’s the club’s decision.
“I suppose we lost Keithy and Pat Richards, so we’ve lost a bit of experience there. But a lot of the guys will step up next year.”
Woods said he was rocked by news of the impending departure of Galloway, who was released from the final year of his contract to take up a three-year deal with the Leeds Rhinos.
The former Cronulla front-rower leaves the NRL after 202 games in 13 seasons.
“That rattled me a little bit,” Woods said of Galloway’s announcement.
“I had no idea. He told us after the (Roosters) game, but I’m really happy for him.
“He’s got a young family and he’s done what’s best for them. I’m pumped for him, but I’m sad to see him go.”
Farah said he was disappointed to lose one of the club’s most experienced players, but understood it was the best decision for his family.
“He came to us in 2006 and he’s been a stalwart for this club and a great friend of all of ours,” he said.
“It’s very disappointing to see him leave and also an exciting opportunity for him to get a three-year deal over in England and a bit of security for his family.
“Hopefully in this last six weeks, we can send him off with a few wins and enjoy our time together before he leaves.”