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Woods to remain Tigers captain, for now

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 21/04/2017 Matt Encarnacion

Wests Tigers coach Ivan Cleary says Aaron Woods is likely to remain captain for the rest of the NRL season despite the club withdrawing a contract extension on Friday.

Woods and star fullback James Tedesco are all but certain to leave Concord at the end of the year after the pair failed to accept deals that would've kept them at the club long-term.

Woods is believed to be close to announcing a move to the team the Tigers coincidentally face on Sunday in Canterbury, and still retain the captaincy duties.

"At this stage, Aaron's the captain of the club and he'll remain that," Cleary said on Saturday.

Asked if Woods would keep the role for the rest of the year, Cleary said: "I would be very surprised if that didn't happen. I mean, he's the captain.

"I'm sure this is a difficult process for everyone involved, but he's the captain of the team. And I'm sure he'll show that tomorrow."

Cleary was reluctant to comment further on the pair's decision to let Friday's contract deadline pass without reaching out to the club, but was determined to move on in the marketplace.

More than 200 players are currently without a secure future beyond the end of the season, including reported targets Gareth Widdop, Josh Reynolds and Ben Matulino.

Cleary, who was only appointed as head coach less than three weeks ago, admitted change was difficult for all concerned at the club.

"The reality is, there's a professional environment and everybody's got different ideals and goal. I, and we, respect everyone's goals and that's how we'll always be," he said.

"We are going to change at this club. The reality is, history shows there hasn't been sustained success. So that's what we're going to try and gauge. Looking forward to doing it."

The former Warriors and Penrith coach is adamant the rebuild won't necessarily be a painfully long one, citing his combined 10 years of experience across his previous clubs.

"There's no doubt that there's a big job ahead. Fortunately for me I've been involved in that before. I understand the ramifications. I understand the dynamics of it all," he said.

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