Chad Townsend is looking to use what he described as his best performance of the season against North Queensland as a springboard for the rest of Cronulla’s premiership charge.
The Sharks’ No.7 has bounced back strongly since an off night against Brisbane late last month with assured performances in victories over Melbourne and the Cowboys.
Rather than dwell on his unhappy night against the Broncos, Townsend has shown his maturity, leading Cronulla to the edge of a top four finish.
And the 2016 premiership-winning half said he accepted criticism of his performances but his mental strength meant his confidence didn’t take a hit.
“I block out what everyone says or what people say. I don’t watch the news, I don’t watch sports shows or what people say about rugby league. I block all that out,” he said.
“I focus on things I can control. Work hard at training, making sure my preparation is the best it can be. Coming out and playing with passion and putting my best performances in.
“I wanted to play with a lot more passion and really show the team what I could do. It has definitely been pleasing to contribute.
“I think the last two weeks I’ve definitely been happy with my individual form. I had a bit of an off game against the Broncos which I was disappointed about.
“But moving forward my mind set after that was I can’t control what’s happened in the past. I can only control what happens in the future and I really knuckled down on things I could control.
“Coming to training and training hard and putting in the work and the preparation to bounce back. I’m happy with the way I bounced back from that.
“I’ve definitely got improvement in myself and as a team I think we do as well. Along with the team I want to use these last few weeks to get myself in a good position where I’m playing confidently and putting in good performances before the finals.”
Cronulla are still in with a chance of securing a top four finish despite a slow start to the season.
The Sharks lost four of their opening six matches before a six-game unbeaten run got their campaign back on track.
Townsend said he didn’t believe Cronulla had yet found their best form but were building towards something – much like their 2016 title-winning season.
“The last few weeks we’ve shown that. Against Melbourne I think it was probably one of our best wins of the season,” he said.
“Defensively we were at our best, we were saving tries and stopping line breaks. We were able to show how we defend at the Sharks. [Against the Cowboys] we scored 28 points which is a great sign.”