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Townsend extends: “I love playing for this jersey”

Sharks 2016 Premiership-winning half back Chad Townsend has signed a contract extension that will see him remain in Cronulla colours beyond the 2020 season.

Already contracted to the Sharks next year, Townsend was quick to squash any speculation as to a possible move by locking up his footballing future with the new deal.

Under the terms of Townsend’s extension, he will be committed to the Club for the 2020-2021 seasons, with options that could see him at the Sharks through until the end of 2023.

A local junior from the Yarrawarrah Tigers, Townsend debuted at the Sharks in 2011 before making a move to the New Zealand Warriors for the 2014-2015 seasons.

He returned to the Sutherland Shire and to the Sharks in 2016, helping to guide the Club to its maiden NRL premiership and has developed into a leader and an integral member of the John Morris’s Cronulla side.

As a local boy, one who has memories of watching Cronulla teams of old perform at Shark Park throughout the years, Townsend’s preference was always to extend his time in the Shire and was understandably pleased to have secured his future with this new long-term deal.

“I grew up here, this is where I want to play,” Townsend said. “I love playing for this jersey, it means a lot to me and I’m looking forward to the future. I’m very happy to be staying in the Shire.”

Morris, a former teammate of Townsend’s and now his NRL coach, is unashamedly a huge fan of his number seven and was delighted to have him on board for at least the next two years and possibly beyond.

“It’s fantastic news, he’s such an important part of our Club,” Morris said. “No player in the NRL would be more consistent than Chad Townsend, on and off the field. He’s the ultimate professional.

“He is a rare game manager, a player who can execute a game plan and he’s a crucial part of our team.”

After debuting against the Broncos as a 20-year-old back in round 13 of the 2011 season, before playing a major role in the Sharks NSW Cup title success of 2013, Townsend sought greater opportunity at the Warriors in 2014, in a move many believe helped him to mature and to return to the Sharks as a more complete NRL player.

Townsend would play all 27 games for the Sharks in 2016 and in emphasising his ability as well as his resilience, went past 100 consecutive NRL games for the Cronulla club during the 2019 season.

Heading into his 10th season in the top grade, Townsend has amassed 165 NRL games, 124 at the Sharks, scoring 32 tries and kicking 119 goals and eight field goals throughout his career.

He played for NSW City Origin in 2016 and 2017.

Townsend is again set to line up alongside Kiwi international Shaun Johnson in 2020, his halves partner at the Sharks last season, in a formidable scrum-base partnership.