St George Illawarra Dragons prop Aaron Woods has joined recently re-signed halfback Ben Hunt in calling for young half Jayden Sullivan to stay at the club after it was revealed the youngster had made a request to be released from his contract with the Red V.
Sullivan had indicated his frustration at being stuck behind Hunt throughout the season, indicating that a successful negotiation with the star half would likely see the young talent try to depart.
That much has happened, with Sullivan requesting a release within 24 hours of Hunt's confirmed extension at the club until 2025.
Now veteran Dragons prop Aaron Woods has weighed in, largely agreeing with his halfback that the youngster would be better served by being patient and using the time to learn as he prepares to be a leader in a few years' time.
“As a teammate I'd love to see (Sullivan) stay,” Woods said on Triple M.
“Ben Hunt's a quality player who almost won the Dally M, it would be good for him to learn with Ben.”
Sullivan is just one of a number of young Dragons getting frustrated with a lack of opportunity at the club, with Tyrell Sloan also looking for the exit. But Woods thinks an honest approach from the club may help them retain their upcoming talent.
“I know it's a couple of years that Ben's signed for – but I think what we need to do as a club is sit down with all these young players. Get them all in a room and just show them what the future is and how it looks for them.
“Just show them that they're part of the plans – but for the next couple of years they might not get 80 minutes each week.
“But then… as a fan of Jayden Sullivan, I want to see him playing each week and playing for 80 minutes because he's such a good talent.
“As a fan, I'm really disappointed and I hope he doesn't leave.”
Woods' suggestions are similar to those of Hunt, who also doesn't want Sullivan to leave.
“I'm not saying Jayden's like me, but you look at my career – I didn't get to play halfback until I was 24,” Hunt told the Sydney Morning Herald earlier this year.
“Personally, I'd like Jayden to stay. He definitely offers a lot. If he can toil away… you never know what can open up for you. You've just got to be a sponge and learn as much as you can.”