Michael Gordon certainly couldn’t be described as a ‘Flash’ in the pan.
The Sharks Player of the Year in 2013, an Origin rep back in 2010 and a 100-game player at the Penrith Panthers, injury has dictated it has probably taken someone of his abilities too long, however this Sunday Gordon, ‘Flash’ to everyone who knows him, celebrates a special milestone when he runs out for his 150th NRL game.
The only player to have taken part in all 19 Sharks games so far this season, Gordon will again be at the back directing traffic and catching the high ball when the Cronulla side battles a Warriors outfit desperate for a win to stay in the hunt for a top eight berth.
Gordon arrived at Sharks headquarters early on Thursday, threw his wetsuit over a railing to dry after a morning surfing session, and as he does with a minimum of fuss, went about his business with a goal kicking practice session.
Laid back and easy going and enjoying life by the sea where he is regular out amongst the waves at the Cronulla beaches, Gordon is someone who takes it all in his stride with 150 to him just another game. If he had the chance he would prefer to talk surfing.
“Not much surf today, it’ll probably come over the weekend while we are away,” Gordon said.
From kicking it was off to a video session, where the Sharks attempted to plot what they hoped would be the demise of a New Zealand side riding their own wave of impressive form at the present time.
Giving Gordon and his Sharks teammates cause to be optimistic however is the return of Paul Gallen, with the skipper having sufficiently recovered from a biceps injury to take his place in the team.
Gallen suffered the injury in the round 18 match against the Knights and has missed the past three games.
Also giving the Sharks confidence of springing an upset against the high-flying Kiwis is their recent record in matches played in Auckland. The Sharks have won on both of their excursions across the Tasman during the past two seasons and when added to three home wins the record shows five victories in succession over the New Zealand side.
The 18-man Sharks squad trained strongly at Remondis Stadium on Thursday afternoon, with youngster Valentine Holmes set to play his second game in the top grade, just a couple of days after signing on at the Cronulla club through until the end of the 2017 season.
Fellow young gun Fa’amanu Brown has overcome a bout of flu and joined Holmes and his Sharks teammates on the flight to Auckland this morning.
In support of Alex Daleo, the 23-year-old Sharks fan and local resident tragically killed in an accident in Croatia last week, the Sharks will wear black arm bands in the NRL match.
The game is scheduled for a 2.00pm (Sydney time) kick off at Mt Smart Stadium on Sunday afternoon, with the NYC game getting underway at 11.40am. Both matches will be shown live on Fox Sports.
For more on Michael Gordon’s contribution to the Sharks cause this season, follow the link to see an NRL.com player profile and highlight video.