Another of the young players to come through the Sharks development and academy system, fullback Will Kennedy has made every post a winner in nine games in the top grade in the 13 rounds played so far in the 2020 season.
A big improver who has more than shown his ability to handle the pressures of NRL football, Kennedy has been rewarded for his efforts in signing a one-year contract extension with the Cronulla club through the 2021 season.
The 23-year-old, originally from Bathurst but who came down from the western NSW region to join the Sharks as a 17-year-old, Kennedy was one of the heroes of the dual championship success achieved by the Newtown Jets last year, while now having played 11 NRL games after debuting in round six in 2019.
In nine games this year he has scored three tries, but perhaps more impressive has been his ball playing ability, with Kennedy having seven try assists to his name, coupled with his safe work at the back, never better highlighted than in Sunday’s clash where he handled everything thrown at him by the Eels in extremely challenging conditions for a fullback. Kennedy’s re-signing represents a significant addition to the Sharks NRL squad for 2021.
Having seen his development first-hand, coach John Morris was thrilled Kennedy had agreed to re-sign with the Sharks and sees him as a player with a definite future in the NRL.
“It is great news for the club that Will has extended his contract,” Morris said. “He is a great success story, making the transition through our elite pathway system from SG Ball to the NRL where Will made his debut in 2019.
“Will’s commitment to his game, coupled with his outstanding character and talent makes him a perfect fit for our club. He has added the consistency to his game necessary to be a success as a starting NRL fullback and I’ve been extremely pleased with his performances so far this year,” Morris added.
Quietly spoken and a player who usually prefers to let his actions on the field do his talking, Kennedy was thrilled to have extended his time at the Sharks and was looking forward to the rest of this year as well as to what the 2021 season might hold.
“I’ve been here a while now and I love the playing group we have here and love the club, so I’m really happy to be staying,” Kennedy said. “I’ve enjoyed the opportunities I’ve had so far, I want to just keep improving and hope to be a part of something special here at the Sharks.”
The re-signing of Kennedy continues the Sharks efforts to secure some of their exciting young talent coming through the ranks, with Siosifa Talakai, Royce Hunt and Teig Wilton amongst some of the others to have signed new contracts with the club in recent months.
Will Kennedy fact file
DOB: April 18, 1997 – Bathurst
Junior Club: Bathurst St Pats
NRL Debut: Sharks v Panthers, PointsBet
Stadium, Round 6, 2019
NRL Games Played: 11