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Player power wasn't behind Taylor axing

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 21/03/2017 Darren Walton

Influential skipper Aaron Woods says Jason Taylor's sacking was a "massive shock" to the Wests Tigers and insists player power wasn't behind the coach's downfall.

"We honestly didn't see that coming. We were at a recovery (session) and checked my Twitter feed - I was getting a massage - and it said JT had 24 hours left," Woods told NRL 360 on Fox Sports.

"We had no idea."

Along with fullback James Tedesco and halves Mitchell Moses and Luke Brooks, Woods makes up the Tigers' so-called "big four", a term the NSW State of Origin prop made clear he was not fond of.

All four are off contract in 2018 and eager to know who will coach the Tigers beyond this season before re-committing to the club.

But Woods says none of the star quartet played a deliberate part in Taylor's demise.

"We never sat down and talked about it at all," the Blues enforcer said.

"I'm one of the four that's off contract. We've got the same management. At the same time, I just got married in the off-season.

"So I've got to sit down with my management and my wife and we're going to sort out what we're going to do.

"It's got nothing to do with the other three boys (but about) what's best for me and my family."

Woods wouldn't reveal what he would have said to Tigers management had they consulted the captain before sacking Taylor.

"All I wanted to know was who the coach was going to be the year after (this year) and what direction did the club want to go in," he maintained.

"It was nothing against JT. I got along with JT really well.

"He was the one that gave me my start as captain of the club and from there I've now been in the rep side consistently, so I can't thank JT enough."

While Tigers assistant Andrew Webster will fill a caretaker's role, former Warriors and Penrith coach Ivan Cleary is tipped to be named as Taylor's full-time successor in the coming days.

Woods said he barely knew Cleary and all he hoped for was "a bit of direction" for the embattled Tigers.

"Look, I've never had a football talk with Ivan. I don't know what he's like as a coach," he said.

"At the moment, we don't know what we're doing. We've got an interim coach in at the moment.

"It's hard for JT. He did all that work in the pre-season and now it's gone so It sort of leaves us in the middle of nowhere, whereas Andrew's got to pick up the slack.

"I'm a player and all I want to do is play. I'm the captain the of the club and I want to lead the boys each weekend.

"I want to let the coaches do the coaching and let the administrators do the administrative work.

"I don't know what's going on behind the scenes."

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