Chad Townsend has been one of the NRL’s leading halfbacks this season, and is set to return to that form in Friday’s preliminary final according to his Cronulla teammate Michael Ennis.
Townsend was sensationally hooked in the Sharks’ qualifying final against Canberra last week before Cronulla mounted a gutsy comeback win.
Coach Shane Flanagan made the courageous call to shift Jack Bird into Townsend’s halves slot as the Sharks moved one game away from the grand final.
There are many who believe Townsend’s confidence will be rocked by the move ahead of the Allianz Stadium preliminary final against North Queensland.
But Ennis believes Townsend will lean on his good performances throughout 2016 for guidance.
“Let’s be honest, obviously you have Cooper (Cronk) and Johnathan Thurston there but Chad has been one of the form halfbacks of the comp this year,” Ennis said.
“He has had a great for us. He is a big part of what we do and we need him there Friday night.
“That was a real test of his character and I think he has come out of it with flying colours.
“The boys have really rallied around him but they didn’t have to because he handled it so well.
“He had a chat to Flanno after the game and has been straight back at halfback for us at training.”
Townsend’s halves partner James Maloney said he was lost without the former Warrior.
“We lost our way a bit when he out, I missed him out there,” Maloney said.
“He does a lot of the organising and direction for us, sometimes I don’t know what is going on.
“When Jack Bird came on he is a bit the same – he is not so good on the organising either.
“And that is what we need Chad there for.”