Chad Townsend says he’s refusing to play second fiddle to Cronulla halves partner James Maloney after moving back across the Tasman in an attempt to finally step out of the shadows.
In just his second NRL game back in Cronulla colours, Townsend looked sharp as his side ran roughshod over St George Illawarra 30-2 at Shark Park on Sunday.
As a scrappy first-half was drawing to a close, Townsend provided two key moments, setting up winger Valentine Holmes with a fortunate yet skilful kick-and-regather which rebounded off Dragons No.6 Gareth Widdop, before scoring himself on the stroke of halftime.
In a four-minute period he produced two big plays which saw his side open up an 18-2 halftime lead which took the game out of the Dragons’ hands.
After beginning his career at the Sharks Townsend ventured to the Warriors but found himself taking a backseat to Shaun Johnson.
But after being invited back to Cronulla by coach Shane Flanagan this year, he is already promising to be a value buy.
And while Maloney was expected to be the heartbeat of the side, Townsend showed against the Dragons he was capable with his hands on the wheel, with his long kicking game in particular instrumental in their big win.
Asked about his ambitions following his move back to Australia and if he wanted to be a dominant playmaker, Townsend said: “One hundred per cent. My talk and communication are one of my best assets I’d say, directing guys around the park is what I do best.
“I’m very comfortable doing it and for Jimmy to feed off that.”
While the Sharks’ five-tries-to-none thumping of the Dragons looked ominous, coach Shane Flanagan predicted there was still a lot of improvement left in his new halves pairing.
Last year the Sharks made it through to the second week of the finals without an established playmaker but with Maloney and Townsend there, they look to have added a very important string to their bow.
“I came here and I knew that this team was resilient and always dug in and never gave up and always gave themselves a chance to win games,” Townsend said.
“If we can add that little attacking flair and score some points, get some ball to the outside backs like Val (Holmes) and Ricky (Leutele) and Ben Barba, then we’ll definitely be a better team.”