Hannay settles on new Sharks halves

·2-min read

More of the same, please.

That was the message from Cronulla caretaker Josh Hannay to his new halves combination Shaun Johnson and Matt Moylan after they starred in Sunday's steamrolling of Gold Coast.

Hannay last week made the biggest call since taking over from the sacked John Morris when he dropped 2016 premiership-winning halfback Chad Townsend in favour of Johnson and Moylan.

But he was left vindicated by a juicy first impression by the playmaking duo, who had their fingerprints all over the six-try feast in Coffs Harbour.

Playing his first game back from a hamstring injury, Johnson gave away a seven-tackle set with his first kick but was otherwise flawless with the boot, including seven from seven from the tee.

He combined seamlessly with Moylan, who produced easily his best performance of the season, setting up two tries.

"I thought our halves were really smart. I thought they were composed," Hannay said.

"They played when there was time to play, and they were within themselves when it was time to cart the ball forward and get to a kick. I thought they got the balance (right).

"For Shaun and Matt as our halves combination, I hope it was a sign of things to come.

"They haven't played a lot of football together, so the hope is we saw a good performance there this afternoon, let's hope we see some more of that."

The performance seemingly leaves Townsend, who departs for North Queensland at the end of the season, on the outer for the foreseeable future.

Hannay paid tribute to Townsend, who has already been linked with a mid-season move to Canberra for the rest of the year, for the way he has handled his demotion.

"When the two guys in front of him play like they did today, obviously it's hard for someone to get into the side," Hannay said.

"But what I'll say about Chad, he's been first class this week. He's a team-first guy. He hasn't been walking around with his head down.

"He's been up here with us and been really engaged with the group.

"He's just handled it like the true professional that he is. Regardless of what his situation is moving forward, whether he's in the team or not, I know Chad will handle it the right way."

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