Chad Townsend hungry for a bite of Sharks
If anyone knows how much the Sharks will be hurting, sitting at the bottom of the NRL ladder, it is former Cronulla man Chad Townsend.
Townsend, who starts in the halves for the Warriors, will line up against the man who effectively pushed him out of his home town team - Todd Carney.
The Warriors play the Sharks on Saturday evening at Remondis Stadium, Cronulla.
The Sharks are coming off four straight losses, the Warriors buoyed by two wins.
Townsend was born and bred in Cronulla and made his debut for the Sharks in 2011.
This weekend he will have a point to prove.
''I'm just really excited, really looking forward to it,'' he said at the Warriors' training at Mt Smart yesterday.
''Hopefully we can play as well as we have the last two weeks and get the win.''
Townsend said there was no doubt the Sharks had gone through a tough couple of years, but they were resilient.
''No matter what the situation is, once you step across that line there is no excuses. We are expecting a big game.''
Warriors coach Matt Elliott has kept Townsend in the starting lineup ahead of Kiwis player Thomas Leuluai.
''It's a pretty big rap. He is going to have to continue to play well to do that.''
Elliott is expecting the team's toughest game of the year against the Sharks, who have lost a couple of games by small margins.
''Nothing is ever as bad as you think. The people they have got playing are a pretty handy crew,'' he said.
Elliott said his team was still rattled by the serious injury to veteran centre Jerome Ropati - a broken jaw suffered against the Wests Tigers in Wellington - but was otherwise largely unscathed from that game.
Jason Bukuya, another Sharks recruit, has a toe injury and was limping around with ice on his foot at training, but Elliott expected him to be fit come Saturday.
Kevin Locke was also seen running around with the team yesterday in the first sign that the fullback is close to returning to full contact training.
Elliott said Locke would have a scan today to see how an injury to his anterior cruciate ligament had healed, and that would determine the next step.
Warriors prop Sione Lousi will face the NRL judiciary in Sydney today after being put on report for a grade two dangerous throw offence following a tackle he made on Wests Tigers back rower Cory Paterson.
The Warriors have pleaded guilty to the offence but are disputing the grade.
Elliott said it was a sensitive matter given the horrific injury to Knights player Alex McKinnon.
''We are trying to acknowledge that sensitivity as much as we can. We are not being flippant about the incident, we feel that it was just graded at a higher level than we expected it to be.''
Is Simon Mannering the best Warriors player of all time?Related story: (See story)