2017 PLAYER REVIEW – Matt Prior
Matt Prior’s 2016 season was arguably the best of his career and it was always going to be difficult to emulate, however the Sharks prop again delivered to a consistently high standard in 2017.
When Prior played well, more often than not the Sharks were successful, with his stinging defence, despite the fact he gives away size to the majority of the opposition front rowers in the NRL, a feature of his game.
One of the fittest in the Sharks NRL squad, it came as little surprise that Prior missed just one game in 2017, that coming as a result of a match review suspension for a shoulder charge, with his resilience and durability on show in all 24 matches played.
The pattern saw Prior start matches when the intensity was at its highest, then have a break before returning for the crucial final period of the match with the result on the line, showing how important he was to the game plan of coach Shane Flanagan.
Signed a contract extension with the club midway through the season, meaning Prior will be a mainstay in the Sharks pack for a few more years yet.
Season highlight: Probably saved his best for late in the year, with his final two games possibly his best. Prior played strongly, with 124 metres gained, a try assist and a line break against the Knights, before putting in an enormous effort in a losing cause against the Cowboys in week one of the finals. In 65 minutes played, Prior made 52 tackles, to go along with 13 carries for 148 metres, and at least in relation to the stats, it was his most productive outing of the year.
2017 Stats: Matt Prior
Games played: 24
Run Metres: 2402
Average run metres: 101
Off loads: 12
Average tackles: 27.5