Rep Break Is Needed: Townsend
Cronulla Sharks halfback Chad Townsend admits the break leading into the Representative Round has come at the right time for the club after a six-win and three-loss record to begin their premiership defence.
The incumbent City Origin No.7 could again be named in Brad Fittler's side for the final match against Country Origin in Mudgee when both teams are announced on Sunday afternoon.
Townsend sent a timely reminder to representative selectors with a match winning four-pointer in the six-point victory over the Wests Tigers on Saturday night.
"I looked up and saw that he (Kevin Naiqama) was at marker so I knew there was no one at home [at fullback] and thought I would try [a chip and chase]," Townsend told NRL.com after the game.
"I haven't done one for a couple of years so I was just happy it came off for us.
"This was my first game at Leichhardt so the crowd felt like it was on top of you and the surface was quite good."
Sharks teammates James Maloney and Valentine Holmes are set to join the Australian camp this week, prop Andrew Fifita has been named for Tonga while New Zealand are also set to announce their squad on Sunday.
"I think it would be good for us all to break up and let the boys go on their different [representative] duties while some of the other guys have a few days off and relax," Townsend said.
"It is such a grinding season and it's important for a player when they do get time off to use it the right way.
"I'd love the opportunity [to play for City again] and mingle with players from other teams and coaches. I'm all for trying to learn as much as I can and better my game.
"We haven’t played anywhere near what we're capable of but we have been good enough to get results.
"We certainly didn't play to our potential and that's probably been the theme of our season so far to be honest."
Townsend also had a cheeky message for his halves partner Maloney, after the Australian international conceded his 19th penalty in nine rounds - the most in the Telstra Premiership so far in 2017.
"He's giving away too many this year and the coaches do go off at him about it so he needs to pull his head in," he said.
"The boys give it to him at training but, so it's all good.
"It is an area though [as a whole team] where our coaches have got a lot of frustration, it's not good enough and we need to fix it.
"We gave away a lot of penalties [again tonight] and made heaps of errors but we know that we are a tough footy side to beat so we are hoping the gears fall into place towards the backend of the year."
Sharks coach Shane Flanagan praised Townsend's effort to get the side over the line but labelled the team's first two months of the season as inconsistent.
"It's one of those things, if you're going to be successful throughout the year then you'll have some of those games," Flanagan said.
"The only consistent thing we've been good at is inconsistent, but we're 6-3 so it's a good time for us to get away.
"If you said to me at the start of the year we'd be 6-3 I'd have taken it.
"We're showing spirit to win games but not play well.
"We can fix [completions] in a week, that can turn around and we can have an 80-90 percent completion rate the next week. It was an issue today but we'll work hard on it."
Cronulla take on local rivals St George Illawarra after the Rep Round and will be aiming for their sixth-straight victory away from home when they head to UOW Jubilee Oval in Indigenous Round.
This article first appeared on NRL.com
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