Newcastle Thunder captain Josh Woods excited to face former side Wigan Warriors

Newcastle Thunder captain Josh Woods is looking forward to welcoming his old side Wigan Warriors to Kingston Park.
Josh WoodsJosh Woods
Josh Woods

The 24-year-old believes playing Super League teams is exactly what the North East club needs to continue growing.

And having come through the youth ranks at Wigan, and played under head coach Matt Peet, Woods is excited for the occasion.

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He said: “It’ll be great to see them at Kingston Park, they’re a great team. I'm excited to get a run out and see where we go.

Josh Woods came through the Wigan youth ranksJosh Woods came through the Wigan youth ranks
Josh Woods came through the Wigan youth ranks

“We’ll be a bit rusty because we’ve not had much action, but hopefully we will click into gear and show what we are about.

“Neither side will be the finished article but it’s good to see how combinations work and hopefully we go well. We won’t read too much into the result, we will just review everything and take it into the first game of the season.”

He added: “It was a strange feeling the last time I played against Wigan, because I was on loan from them at Leigh, so I knew everyone and how they worked.

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“This time, there will be a lot of new faces, but it will be good to see some familiar ones. Games like this will grow Newcastle’s name, and the brand we are trying to get out there.

“Teams like Wigan always have great fans, and we’re trying to get that by doing things in the community. Playing Super League sides is just one of the ways we are going to grow.”

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Woods believes Peet’s side will be competitive this season, and says he still keeps an eye on how they are doing and is grateful for his grounding.

“I think they’ll do really well, they’ve made a few good signings,” he said. “There are some world-class superstars in their squad, mixed in with youth players.

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“A lot of people are writing them off, but I think they will shock a few. There’ll always be a part of me there at Wigan, I’ll always be thankful to them, it gave me a good grounding and a start to my career I couldn’t have got anywhere else.”

Back in November, Woods was announced as Newcastle’s captain, which is a role he is pleased to take on.

“It’s a massive honour and something I’m really proud of, because it’s a great team to lead out,” he said.

“We’ve got good lads, and seven or eight of them are natural leaders, so that will make my job easier.

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“I’ve always thrived off it, it’s good for me and my game. I’ll take a lot of pride in it this year, we can do special things and I want to lead the way. I’m a very vocal person on the pitch and in training, it’s just the kind of player I am, so it suits my game down to the ground.

“I like that added bit of responsibility on my shoulders. I’m just going to enjoy it and embrace it, to see where we go. I want to keep high standards around the place and get the good culture that we are thriving towards.”

Woods says the key values he was taught during his time with Wigan has helped to shape his leadership qualities.

“When I was younger at Wigan, we used to do leadership camps,” he said. “My time there taught me a lot. Everything we did there created a good culture, which is why we’ve been so successful over the years. No job was too big for anyone.

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“It was a case of keeping everything clean or taking your plate back if you went for a coffee. All the little things added up to a big thing on game-day.”

Woods is excited by what Newcastle can achieve in the upcoming campaign, but admits this time of year is certainly the hardest up there.

“It’s the coldest place on earth, but it’s good just to be back out on the pitch,” he said.

“We’ve assembled a good squad this season and hopefully have a good season and crack on trying to do things at the top of the Championship. We’ve got a big long-term plan, for the players currently here it’s week by week and we want to win every game that we play in.

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“I think with the squad we’ve got there’s no reason why we can’t shock a few things. We need to aim to get the play-offs, and I think we will put Newcastle on the map more than ever this season.

“We’ve got Super League players in our squad, so we should do pretty well if everyone stays fit. We share facilities with Newcastle Falcons, who have showed us the blueprint because they’ve gone to the Championship to the Premiership.”

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