Lewis happy with father role
By Jack Brady, NRL.com
Sharks veteran and new father Luke Lewis enjoyed some relief during representative round despite the incumbent Kangaroo being overlooked for Test selection.
Lewis has featured for Australia in five of the past six trans-Tasman Tests prior to last weekend's match, but the week off allowed Lewis to wind down with month-old baby girl Hazel instead.
"It was good to give the body a rest and get away from footy. I shut it down. I didn't watch any footy. I watched maybe the first 20 of the Test match and then I was a bit bored so I just kicked back with the little one and threw a movie on instead," Lewis said.
"Don't get me wrong, if I play rep footy then 100 per cent I'd put everything I have into it and I wouldn't leave any stone unturned.
"But it was good to unwind and get away from footy to be honest. It was outstanding to sit back and relax. We know we have another two games at the Sharks before a bye so we can work really hard now and play some good footy before we get to unwind again."
Away from football, Lewis reaffirmed his commitment and focus on the Sharks after admitting it may have slightly dwindled around the birth of Hazel.
Above all, Lewis was buoyed by the fact his daughter and wife Sonia had a clean bill of health.
"Hazel is going very well. It's been a pretty fast month and she's growing and putting some weight on so I'm loving fatherhood and being able to wake up in the morning to see her little face. It's been awesome," he said.
"My focus on footy went away a little bit maybe a week prior to the baby being born because you're making sure your wife is all good. Then when the little one come it took a week to adapt but now I feel great.
"It's good knowing that mum and bub are well and I can come to training and not stress too much about it. At the same time, when training is finished I have something to look forward when I head home."
If the Sharks want to maintain their position atop the NRL Telstra Premiership ladder then they'll have to live up to expectations against the Knights this weekend.
Cronulla have won their past six games and if they want to remain the team people envision them being in 2016, they should make short work of Newcastle.
But Lewis – who has been named to start in the back row in place of the suspended Jayson Bukuya – insisted the Knights in Newcastle posed a real threat.
"This is a tough game for us. I believe Newcastle have been playing pretty well in Newcastle. It's always pretty tough to go up there and get a win," Lewis said.
"We need to make sure we don't leave any stone unturned at training this week. Preparation is key and our preparation over the past six weeks has been really vital for us.
"We may have had a little bit of a run but we have had a week off now where you can let loose and don't tick all those little boxes that we have been ticking so it's a massive week for us as a whole."