2016 CITY Origin Headshots Photo.
Cabramatta Leagues Club. Monday the 2nd of May 2016

Photographer – Anthony Johnson © NRL Photos

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Having Captained the Junior Kangaroos in 2011, as well as representing the NSW Under-18s in years gone before that, Chad Townsend’s form to start 2016 has warranted that of a senior representative berth with City this weekend –  and the 25-year-old says couldn’t be happier.

“I’ve been quite pleased with how I’ve been playing at Club level for the Sharks, and to know that’s been acknowledged is a huge confidence boost,” Townsend said.

“I’m loving playing alongside Jimmy (Maloney). Our combination is getting better each week, and I’m learning a lot from the guys around me.”

Partnering James Maloney for the first nine games to start the 2016 season, this Sunday the two Sharks halves will oppose each other, in a rare test set to bring out the best in both men.

“Yeah it’ll be a strange feeling running out opposite Jimmy,” Townsend said.

“He’s been in sensational form to start the season, and you can see he’s beginning to grow in confidence amongst the team.

“I know he’ll do an excellent job with the Country boys on Sunday – Hopefully not too good though (laughing).”

Although not partnering Townsend in the Country halves on Sunday, Maloney will pair with a familiar face in Jack Bird, who wears the ‘7’ jersey in a return a pivot role from his now-regular centre position.

Bird made his first Country Origin appearance last year, just 7 starts into his NRL career.

“Birdy’s one of those players that could play with any number on his back and you know he’d do a great job for the team,” Townsend said.

“He’s a really competitive young kid and one that has a huge skill set. I’m thankful I get to play with him at the Sharks each and every week, but I bet he’d be excited to test himself at rep level again.”

Placing an emphasis on playing consistent football upon his return to the Shire, Townsend has been one of the form halfbacks from New South Wales to start the 2016 season.

With his name now beginning to be bandied about in Origin circles – and a proposed start alongside Club partner Maloney not out of the reckoning – Townsend said a Blues call up would be a dream come true.

“I’d be honoured to represent New South Wales if the chance came about, but that’s certainly not my main priority or focus at the moment,” he said.

“It’s everyone’s dream to play for their State, we all know how big of an occasion Origin is.

“But I’m just wanting to keep playing well for the Sharks, and City as well this weekend, and taking care of the things I can control.”