Chad Townsend says Cronulla are aware of the importance of the next month as they head into a pair of tough games starting with Manly on Sunday.
The high-flying Sea Eagles have surprised many so far this season and will be confident heading to Southern Cross Group Stadium given Cronulla’s struggles at home at their own unblemished away record.
Manly have won five from five away from the northern beaches and have beaten Cronulla in 13 of their last 15 games against them.
After the visit of Manly, the Sharks face the second-placed Sydney Roosters on the Central Coast before their second bye. It is the same crucial time of the season that Cronulla exploited last season with wins that helped entrench them in the top four.
And Townsend told the Leader the Sharks were ready to dig in again.
“It started against the Tigers without the Origin boys then moving into the next couple of weeks it’s an important time for us,” he said.
“The Sea Eagles have definitely surprised a few teams and the next few weeks will definitely determine how our run home is going to look. [But] we always try to focus one week at a time, that’s our philosophy.”
Townsend said Cronulla had plenty of improvement in them and were aware of the improvement of opposition teams at Shark Park this season as visitors looked to claim the scalp of the premiers on their turf.
The Sharks have lost to Brisbane, St George Illawarra, Gold Coast and Melbourne while scraping home against the Cowboys, Bulldogs, Knights and Tigers – a vast difference from their run of 11 wins from 12 matches in the shire last season.
“It’s been like that all year. I’ve definitely noticed it. Teams come here and obviously we’re a pretty successful team here and our record shows that,” Townsend said.
“So we need to improve as well if we’re going to continue to be successful. We can’t just rest on our previous success.”