SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 14: Aaron Woods of the Sea Eagles warms up during the round seven NRL match between Manly Sea Eagles and Melbourne Storm at 4 Pines Park on April 14, 2023 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Manly Sea Eagles prop Aaron Woods is reportedly set to continue his NRL career with the club, although the deal will come with a surprise twist.

Woods, who left the St George Illawarra Dragons in a mid-season transfer to the Sea Eagles, was a prominent part of Anthony Seibold's side during the second half of 2023.

However, with young talent coming through at the club and a roster already close to completion, it's understood Woods may not begin 2024 on a Top 30 deal.

Woods has toyed with the idea of retirement previously, but according to Wide World of Sports' The Mole, wants to go around again before moving into the media on a more full-time basis where he works with Fox Sports and Triple M Radio on a sporadic basis already in NRL commentary and analysis roles.

According to the report, Woods will start the year on a NSW Cup deal where he will spend his time playing with the Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles and helping to mentor other young forwards within the Manly system.

He will then likely be upgraded to a Top 30 deal at mid-season. Every club saves spots on the roster for the inevitability of injuries striking or Origin impacting clubs, while it also helps the salary cap situation by not having to pay some players a full year's NRL wage, which is more than anyone would be earning on a NSW Cup contract.

In what could be his final season, it means Woods may not be seen at the top level until the second half of the season, and even then it's likely he won't be a walk up starter for Seibold's side.

That said, the Sea Eagles are likely to extend the contract of Matt Lodge who is unlikely to take any part in the 2024 season, and have a number of questions over a forward pack likely to feature the likes of Josh Aloiai, Ethan Bullemor, Sean Keppie, Taniela Paseka, Toafofoa Sipley, Jake Trbojevic, Haumole Olakau'atu, Josh Schuster and Ben Trbojevic at full strength.

The club also signed Corey Waddell yesterday, while Dean Matterson impressed at the back-end of 2023 and Aitasi James has also signed across from the Wests Tigers.