Townsend to tackle his men­tor

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - NRL - MICHAEL CARAYANNIS

CHAD Townsend will need to use ev­ery bit of what he learnt from James Maloney if he is to help turn around Cronulla’s in­con­sis­tent start to the sea­son.

After com­bin­ing to end Cronulla’s premier­ship drought in 2016, the pair will go head-to­head in the No.7 jersey when the Sharks host Pen­rith to­day.

Townsend’s game flour­ished un­der Maloney’s guid­ance dur­ing the two sea­sons they spent to­gether.

“I’ve been i n con­tact with him the l ast few weeks and he said he is en­joy­ing it out there with his fam­ily,” Townsend said.

“In the 70th minute, when you’re be­hind by two, that’s when Jimmy (Maloney) helped me stay calm and made sure he put the team first and gave us the best op­por­tu­nity to win.

“That has rubbed off on me and my game. I do en­joy watch­ing Jimmy. He is a dif­fer­ent player and a bit of a lar­rikin.’’

While the Townsend-Maloney com­bi­na­tion was a set­tled halves pair­ing for Cronulla, this sea­son has been any­thing but for Townsend. Only he and hooker Jay­den Brai­ley have been con­stants in the spine with Josh Du­gan, Matt Moy­lan and Valen­tine Holmes shar­ing the full­back role and Matt Moy­lan and Trent Hod­kin­son in the No.6 jersey.

Moy­lan re­turns to the halves to part­ner Townsend against his for­mer club to­day.

“It’s dis­rup­tive but we don’t want to make ex­cuses,’’ Townsend said.

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