Woods requires painkillers for WC final
Australian Kangaroos prop Aaron Woods will need the aid of painkilling injections to play in Saturday's Rugby League World Cup final at Suncorp Stadium.
Woods is set to line up against England on Saturday night after being cleared of a serious shoulder injury by Kangaroos doctors this week, with the 13-Test veteran insisting there is no risk of worsening his already damaged shoulder.
The 26-year-old hurt his AC joint in the early stages of Australia's 54-6 quarter-final defeat of Fiji, aggravating a shoulder injury he first suffered when he was still a teenager at the Wests Tigers.
Woods said his shoulder will cope structurally with the rigors of a World Cup final, it is just dealing with the pain that could be an issue.
"The shoulder is good. I had a run today. I didn't do any contact but it feels pretty good. I just have to do rehab all week and I probably won't do any contact at training," Woods said.
"I'll have to get a needle before the game. It can't get worse. It just needs a bit of rest so I'll get a month of six weeks off after this game. I'm looking forward to that but there's a big game before it.
"There's no risk. I sat down with the physio and he said it can't get any worse; it'll just be aggravated throughout the week and afterwards for a couple of weeks. It's a pretty common injury in rugby league so I'll just have to put up with it."
Woods has been in talks with good mate and former Tigers teammate Keith Galloway since suffering the injury, collecting advice on how to approach Saturday's final.
Galloway, who played through the pain of a ruptured AC joint in 2012, told Woods to grin and bear it knowing that a World Cup final may never come round again.
It is why Woods was never going to miss Saturday's game, even though he would be having some time off if the injury struck during the NRL season.
"I'd probably give it a couple of weeks off [if it was during the season], but I've had it before. A bloke I played with Keith Galloway completely ruptured it and he still played," Woods said.
"I gave Keithy a ring during the week to see what he thought and he said I'd be sweet and should get through.
"If I did it mid-year I'd have to monitor it all year, whereas I'm lucky now because I've only got one game."
Woods, who initially thought he had dislocated his shoulder, had a taste of playing with painkilling injections during Friday's win.
After suffering the injury in the eighth minute, Woods left the field fearing the worst before the doctor gave him the all clear to return.
He was needled up and came back into the game early in the second half, performing solidly despite the fact he could not feel his left shoulder.
It will be the same story on Saturday night, with Woods ready to give it all before having a well-earned rest.
"I thought I'd popped my shoulder when I first did it so I was pretty rattled. I went and saw the doctor and he said it was just the AC joint so I needled up and I wasn't able to feel it," he said.
"I got through the game and I didn't worry about it because I was told it couldn't get any worse than what it was. I wasn't too [sore] the next day because I had done the injury before when I was 19.
"They reckon if it's the first time you've done anything like that then it can be a lot worse so I was probably lucky that I'd done that injury once before.
"The pain was nowhere near as bad [this time around], and the movement I have is completely different to someone that's done an initial tear so I've been pretty lucky."