Townsend: Text message a reminder of Sharks support
It’s the text message which says far more than just the words themselves.
Checking his phone on the back of the Sharks dramatic week one Finals win over the Raiders, halfback Chad Townsend was reminded of how a maiden NRL Premiership would mean so much, to so many.
Mat Rogers – a Sharks great, and a boyhood idol of the Shire junior who is now at the heart of the Club’s title push – had sent Townsend a simple text message. A message which oozed of the support that the current crop of talent has from legends of seasons bygone.
“I actually got a message from Mat Rogers that said ‘Good luck mate, we’re all behind you’,” Townsend said.
“(Rogers’ Sharks team) couldn’t get it done back in 2001, but it’s those type of messages and that support from past players that shows just how much success this year would mean to so many people.
“It’s the same as seeing fans and supporters in the streets, those well wishes are just a little reminder of how close we are to something that’s never been done before.”
The 2001 Preliminary Final loss to the Knights was the last game Rogers would play for the Sharks, before moving on to pursue a career in Rugby Union.
The Sharks would go on again to play in the Grand Final qualifier in the following season, to be again pipped at the post, that time by a rampaging Warriors outfit.
Though the last time the Sharks featured in a Preliminary Final, Townsend was taking notes – quite literally.
“In 2008, I was 17, I was in my last year of high school at Engadine and I was doing my HSC at the time,” Townsend quipped.
“The Shire was buzzing. I was playing SG Ball at the time, the whole district was really getting behind the team. The support we’ve had all year has been amazing to be honest, it’s been a huge factor in getting us to where we are now.
“Being a part of it now though on a grander scale, we’re seeing that support again this year. It’s a real pleasure to be involved in it.
“You take that confidence into these big games, I’m just looking forward to it.”