Pressure on Townsend to deliver for Warriors
Chad Townsend might get one more roll of the dice in the Warriors' halves before he potentially faces a spell in the club's reserve grade, NSW Cup side.
The recruit from the Sharks will again play five-eighth for the Warriors for their daunting trip to face the Cowboys in Townsville tomorrow night.
It will be the third time he will partner Shaun Johnson in the halves in an NRL game and what's of concern is that both have been unable to replicate the form they showed in the trial game against the Broncos two weeks before the season started.
Johnson is locked in at halfback and it's hard to imagine him being dropped at any point this season, but Townsend is in a different boat, particularly because Thomas Leuluai is expected to be back for next weekend's game against Wests Tigers in Wellington.
Coach Matthew Elliott has said Leuluai will come straight into the team as soon as he's available, while there have been calls for the highly rated youngster, Tuimoala Lolohea, to be given a run this weekend, and Carlos Tuimavave is also waiting in the wings for another chance in the first-grade team.
It all adds up to there being plenty of pressure on Townsend to deliver, otherwise he could find himself struggling for game time in coming weeks.
"I just worry about my own game and don't let any outside factors affect me," Townsend said.
"Whether he [Leuluai] is fit or not, I just worry about myself and look forward to the competition for spots."
Like all of the players in the squad, Townsend has been feeling the heat from the team's poor start to the campaign.
The Warriors should have beaten both Eels and Dragons if they wanted to be regarded as a genuine contenders for the top eight, yet they were convincingly beaten in both outings and only the injury-ravaged Sharks are keeping them off the bottom of the ladder, because on an inferior points difference.
"It has been a tough first to opening rounds," Townsend said.
"We haven't played how we wanted to play and we're all pretty disappointed, but we're still upbeat and looking forward to the weekend."
Townsend said he had been taken aback by some of the outpouring about the Warriors over their losses and did not appreciate how much attention the club received from the media and public.
"I didn't realise how much attention the Warriors got over here, but it's a one-team, one-country club," Townsend said.
"In saying that, people are entitled to their opinions, they're passionate supporters that we really appreciate and we're looking to reward them with a win this weekend and turn our season around straight away."