Regular football pays dividends for Townsend

DAVID LONG
Last updated 05:00 16/05/2014
Chad Townsend
Getty Images
OFF THE HOOK: NZ Warrior Chad Townsend made his debut for the Sharks in round 13 of the 2011 season, presumably ruling him outside of the window for the supplement scandal.

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The Warriors are getting more than they bargained for in the signing of five-eighth Chad Townsend.

When the club decided late last season to re-sign Nathan Friend for another year, it looked like Townsend's time in Auckland would be spent playing mostly reserve grade footy.

That was because Thomas Leuluai wouldn't be moving to the No 9 jersey but staying in the halves with Shaun Johnson.

So once again, just like his time at the Sharks, Townsend would be struggling for game time in the NRL.

But the continual problem Leuluai has had with the groin injury picked up just before last year's World Cup means that Townsend has been one of the regulars this year and in recent weeks one of their best players.

Sunday's game against the Bulldogs in Hamilton will be his eighth start of the season and while there was criticism about his performances earlier in the campaign, he's started to find his feet, with the 54-12 win over the Raiders last weekend his best game in a Warriors jersey.

During Townsend's three years with the Sharks he played just 19 games for the club, with five of them coming last year.

While it's a considerable jump from the reserve grade NSW Cup to the NRL, Townsend says he's felt comfortable with the promotion.

"It's just the calibre of players I have around in the NRL team makes my job a lot easier and when everyone does their job we get the win," Townsend said.

He believes his partnership with Johnson is improving as they learn to read each other's game and build up a strong relationship.

"We train well together well, we hang out together off the field and against the Raiders our communication was pretty good too," he said.

"I thought it was the best it's been all year in that game and that's a big plus for us."

"It was a really good team effort, I thought that while we got a bit lucky there with some of our tries, the defence was outstanding and to only let two tries in off kicks was a real improvement."

The Warriors head into Sunday's game on the back of two straight victories, having beat the Storm in their previous fixture.

They haven't taken a winning streak beyond that mark since June last year, but Townsend feels they have momentum going into this weekend's game.

"For the Storm game, also our best aspect was the defence," Townsend said.

"We've spoken about it as being something we need to improve this year. We know we can attack, so it's pretty pleasing with how it's going on defence.

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"But we've got a tough game against the Bulldogs down in Hamilton, so we need to be on our toes and be ready for them after they beat us a couple of weeks ago."

- Stuff

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