FEATURE | Townsend: ‘The derby means so much’

FEATURE | Townsend: 'The derby means so much'

Sitting on the Family Hill, watching his childhood heroes go before him, Sharks halfback Chad Townsend very quickly came to learn the passion and the rivalry behind the Cronulla versus St George Illawarra local derby.

A product of the local junior rugby league competition, Townsend had always dreamed of running out in front of a packed home crowd – making proud his family and friends by beating the Dragons –  much to the further delight of the Sharks supporters around the Stadium.

On Sunday, he gets his chance.

“It’s going to be a huge game; the derby, it means so much to us,” Townsend said.

“It’s something I had looked forward to from the moment I knew I was (returning to the Sharks).

“The Shire, the Members and fans, they love these games. It’s one of our biggest rivalry games. We want a big crowd down here and we’re really looking forward to putting on a big game.”

Townsend has featured only once in a Shire derby, in Round 19 of 2011, at Kogarah.

And having spent two years abroad and away from family and friends in Auckland, the 25-year-old half said this Sunday’s match is something that excites, and a fixture that he has longed to play in since making his debut six seasons ago.

“To be able to play in front of your family and friends, it’s something very special, and something I don’t take for granted,” Townsend said.

“As a youngster I was a Sharks fan, so I had an emotional connection before I left. I knew what the Club was about.”

“Coming back it was a special moment, to get back in amongst the boys… I’m just very happy where I am at the moment.”

Townsend scored a try upon his Sharks return last weekend, and while happy with his own performance, knows the side must improve upon their efforts to match the Dragons on Sunday.

Buoyed by finding his place in a team that will never say never, Townsend said that he and the Sharks will be leaving nothing in the tank come the sound of the first whistle on Sunday.

“That’s the best thing about this team – we don’t die wondering. We’ve got a lot of hard heads, a lot of experience.

“No matter what we’ll always stick in there and give us the best chance of winning the game.”

Check out all that’s happening this Sunday at Southern Cross Group Stadium via our Game Day page HERE!

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