Every team need needs those players who turn up each week and do the job assigned to them, often to a very high standard and without too much fuss or fanfare. Low maintenance and high output.
All coaches love to have those types in their squad.
The above could be the perfect description for Sharks forward Jayson Bukuya, who tomorrow night achieves a significant milestone, one he has reached with great efficiency and productivity, if generating few headlines along the way.
An integral part of the Sharks Premiership success of 2016, Bukuya will run out for his 150th NRL game tomorrow night, his 132nd for the Sharks and when considering the NRL average for games played in the top grade is somewhere around the 50-match mark, the accomplishment is a considerable one, even if the man himself isn’t overly fussed.
“It was a while ago now and I can’t remember my debut really,” Bukuya said of his first NRL game in round 11 of 2008. “I’m just looking forward to starting a new season and what a way to start it.”
What a way to start the Sharks 2018 campaign indeed, in Townsville, up against one of the 2018 premiership favourites, on a night when Johnathan Thurston plays his 300th game, in front of a parochial North Queensland crowd.
Bukuya’s celebration, along with those of Luke Lewis who trots out for his 100th Sharks game and young wing sensation Sione Katoa in making his NRL debut, will likely be lost in the hype of the Thurston festivities, but if the Cronulla backrower is phased, he was hiding his emotions well.
“They are going to be turning up to play and wanting to put on a show for him,” Bukuya said of Thurston’s Cowboy teammates. “But we’ve got a job to do and we want to start out season well also.”
With Paul Gallen short of a run having missed the Sharks two trials matches, expectations might be for Bukuya to play extended minutes both in the middle of the field as a replacement for his skipper and also on an edge should either Wade Graham or Luke Lewis require a spell.
But whatever the role the coach has planned for Bukuya, as always, he will carry it out as per instructions and do it to a high standard.
Understated, possibly, unappreciated by his teammates or coaches, certainly not, with 150 NRL games a milestone for Jayson Bukuya which has been hard earned but definitely well deserved.