Sharks focus on making winning a habit
Such is the enormity of the task, not since a run of 11-consecutive victories in the 2002 season have the Sharks managed to string together seven or more wins on the trot.
With an opportunity to change all of that this Sunday, forward Chris Heighington told sharks.com.au that the side has placed a greater emphasis on putting back-to-back wins together this season.
Although not a player to tally the points before they had been won, Heighington praised the early efforts of the Knights this season, despite their position on the NRL ladder.
“It’s going to be a tough game; Newcastle haven’t been getting the wins, but they’ve been in all of their games,” Heighington said.
“We know the task at hand, but there’s a good confidence and good belief amongst the squad.
Not an easy feat to win multiple games in succession, the senior players in the Sharks group – not least Heighington – have taken it upon themselves in stressing the importance of ‘going on runs’.
A Premiership winner with the Wests Tigers in 2005 – in a year that included an 8-game run of wins – Heighington said the effort amongst the squad must remain at an all-time high, regardless of the Knights ranking after 9 games gone.
“If you’re a little bit off, the opposition will get you,” he said.
“We’ve been pretty consistent, and we’ve been lucky to not have picked up many injuries.
“That, plus everyone knowing their role within the team, it’s gone a long way to helping us notch those (six consecutive) wins.”
Drawing comparisons between the Tigers’ premiership side of 2005 and that of the Sharks in 2016, Heighington said though he is now no longer one of the fresher faces in the squad, but he’s come to learn of the significance of early season form.
“It’s important to get the wins on the board early on in the season, and come the end of the year you can look back knowing you’ve banked those points. Hopefully you can do that and sit high up on the ladder,” Heighington said.
“Obviously when you win you go out the next week in you’re that little bit more confident in your own and the team’s ability to get the job done.
“(Winning) becomes a bit of a habit, and it’s a great one to get in to. But vice versa, when things aren’t all going to plan it’s easy to get stuck in that rut.
“We’ll be out to make it seven wins in a row) on Sunday, but we can’t get too carried away. We’re not even half way through the year yet.”
NRL TEAM LIST – Round 10
Sharks v Knights
Sunday, May 15
1 Ben Barba
2 Sosaia Feki
3 Jack Bird
4 Gerard Beale
5 Valentine Holmes
6 James Maloney
7 Chad Townsend
8 Andrew Fifita
9 Michael Ennis
10 Sam Tagataese
11 Luke Lewis
12 Wade Graham
13 Paul Gallen
14 Ricky Leutele
15 Chris Heighington
16 Matt Prior
17 Joseph Paulo
23 David Fifita