Coming off a great performance in the U19s State of Origin match for the NSW Blues, Mitchell Woods has been touted as a generational halfback and the future of the Canterbury Bulldogs.

Wanted by three different sporting codes, Woods has revealed for the first time how close he came to moving to Aussie Rules or rugby union before inking a four-year contract to remain in rugby league with the Canterbury Bulldogs.

Born in 2006, he has already had a storied career as he attempts to make his NRL debut in the next few seasons. Captaining the Bulldogs to the Harold Matthews Cup title in 2023, he helped guide them to the SG Ball Cup Grand Final earlier this year before falling to the St George Dragons 40-18.

He was previously a member of the Sydney Swans Academy, selected into the U16s All-Australian line-up, a Junior Blues representative and part of the Australian U16s development squad in rugby union alongside fellow future NRL stars Alex Conti, Casey McLean and Zach Fittler.

In one of his first-ever interviews, Woods spoke to Zero Tackle about how close he came to joining a rival sporting code, his development under Phil Gould and his lifelong dream of running out onto the NRL field in the Bulldogs jersey.

"I was always tossing and turning, but I always loved rugby league," Woods told this publication.

"It's all I've watched, it's all I bled, so I'd say it was always rugby league in the end."

Although he decided to choose rugby league ahead of any other sporting code, he credited them with helping him become a better player, especially his kicking game.

"It's been very important. I've just learned the fundamentals and felt the contact on the ball so much so that helps."

Mitchell Woods. (Photo: Joshua Davis)

After agreeing to a four-year contract with the Bulldogs at the beginning of this year, Woods will transition into the Top 30 roster at the start of the 2025 season, where he will remain for an extra three seasons until the end of 2027.

However, it is unlikely that he will be rushed straight into first grade to contend with Drew Hutchison, Toby Sexton, Blake Taaffe and Matt Burton for the two halves spots.

Instead, he will likely continue to develop his craft in the Jersey Flegg Cup - he scored a try in his debut game this year - and the NSW Cup as he gains more experience and grows in development.

"It'd be the dream (to wear the Bulldogs jersey)," he added.

"I just want to stay there for as long as I can. I love the club. I love being there.

"Get a couple of games of Flegg in, hopefully play some Cup and then get into a full pre-season next year and see how that goes."

NRL and AFL prospect Mitchell Woods for the Canterbury Bulldogs' Harold Matthews Cup team (Image via

A fan of the Bulldogs and Parramatta Eels growing up, the youngster attended St Joseph's Riverwood before moving to St Patrick's College Strathfield to continue his rugby league journey.

Woods revealed that he loved watching Jonathon Thurston, Andrew Johns, and Nathan Cleary on television growing up, learning bits and pieces from the star trio to incorporate into his own game.

As he gets set to compete at the U18s ASSRL National Championship to try and earn Australian Schoolboy honours, he would further credit the Bulldogs halves academy that has been implemented by master coach and rugby league icon Phil Gould.

"It's been very important, so Gus runs that. He started at the start of the year, I did it last year as well and it's amazing," Woods said.

"It brings some of the NRL boys in and learns from their experience and then Kik's [Viliame Kikau] was in there a couple of times.

"It's unreal and I can't learn much more."