As they say, the halves, the half back and five eighth, ‘own the result’ and are instrumental in the success or otherwise of most NRL teams.
Kicking games, creating for those around them, organisational ability and the brilliance to make something happen out of nothing, some of the characteristics match-winning halves require.
Possess a couple of those attributes listed and success will follow, with the very best possessing almost ‘all of the above’.
The Sharks have enjoyed the services of a number of quality halves over the years, Bishop, Healey, Kimmorley, Dykes, Russell, Preston Campbell, Paul Green, but what of the last 10 seasons?
Who have been the Sharks halves to make a significant impact and to leave their mark on the NRL and the Cronulla club?
In continuing to provide a reminder of the players to represent the Sharks with distinction since 2010, we’ll remind you of a few of the most prominent halfbacks and five eighths from the decade.
There was the partnership who worked together to steer the Sharks to their maiden Grand Final victory in 2016, or was it a player or players operating in challenging circumstances who deserve recognition?
So far, we’ve provided ‘tip sheets’ on the best outside backs over the last 10 years in asking you to select a Team of the Decade, a Sharks squad 1-17 which you believe to be the best from 2010 to the currently suspended 2020 season.
Now we remind you of some of the halves to carry the hopes of the Cronulla club during the last decade.
We are giving Sharks fans the chance to have your say in letting us know who your favourites are from the past 10 years.
Today we look at some of the more notable names to play in the halves for the Sharks over the past 10 seasons. Who are your picks in the Sharks Team of the Decade – 2010-2020?
While perhaps in the twilight of his career, Trent Barrett remained one of the very best five eighths in the game when he brought his skills and experience to the Sharks in 2009, with the former Dragon continuing in the role in 2010.
Barrett had a couple of different halves partners during his second season at the club, Tim Smith and Scott Porter amongst them, before a pair of extremely talented youngsters in Albert Kelly and Chad Townsend would emerge to take over in 2011.
Townsend would have plenty more to offer the Sharks in the years ahead, Kelly unfortunately moved on following his debut season, with 2012 seeing another changing of the guard with two highly regarded, if very different, playmakers joining the club.
The 2012 season would be the first for both Todd Carney and Jeff Robson, one flamboyant and instinctive, the other a tough no-frills organiser and defender of the highest quality, with the pair steering the Sharks into successive finals appearances. Significantly, Carney was missing from the Sharks team in their week two playoff loss in 2013, a loss which prematurely ended a season of immense promise.
Carney departed mid-2014, with the experienced and capable Daniel Holdsworth joining the club and partnering Robson in the halves at the back end of the season during what was a difficult year for all concerned.
Robson played his final year at the Sharks in 2015, this time his halves partner was a brash youngster named Jack Bird, a player with an abundance of natural ability.
Bird was a revelation at five eighth during his debut season, but with the return of Chad Townsend after a stint at the Warriors, coupled with the acquisition of James Maloney, Bird pushed out into the centres in 2016 with the new combination making every post a winner.
So much so, Townsend and Maloney would earn the distinction of being members of the first Sharks team to claim the NRL title as both left a lasting imprint during that memorable year.
Townsend remains the Sharks first-choice seven, with Trent Hodkinson taking over from Maloney in 2018, Shaun Johnson in 2019, while youngster Kyle Flanagan filled in for his more experienced teammates when required.
In 2020 it was set to be Townsend and Johnson attempting to take their partnership to another level, with exciting local product Connor Tracey awaiting his opportunity.
A quality list, an abundance of candidates, which pair will slot into the halves in your Sharks Team of the Decade?
Download the Sharks Team of the Decade template here and start filling it out today - once you've finished your squad, upload a picture to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and tag our pages plus use the hashtag #UpUp - or email your sheet to [email protected].