Chad Townsend pulls rank on cocky young teammate

Darren Walton
Chad Townsend pulls rank on cocky young teammate

Premiership-winning half Chad Townsend has reminded cocky young gun Kyle Flanagan of his place after he retained the No.7 jumper for Cronulla's NRL season opener in Newcastle on Friday night.

Relishing the chance to reignite his halves combination with former Warriors teammate Shaun Johnson, Townsend admits he was taken aback by Flanagan's bold pre-season plan to unseat him in 2019.

"I'm not going to wait around for my turn to come, I'm going to go get it myself; 100 per cent I want that jersey," Flanagan said.

"We'll see what happens. Me and Chad are all good but at the end of the day everyone wants that spot and wants to win."

Townsend conceded he'd had a word with Flanagan about his public challenge but said the conversation would remain private.

"Look, I did see that and if he wants to say that stuff in the media, that's OK," the 2016 premiership winner said.

"It's probably not my style and not what I would have said when I was younger.

"But all I do is worry about myself, my role in the team and making sure I prepare as best I can to give myself my best chance of playing the best I can as well."

Chad Townsend isn't handing his No.7 jumper over to Kyle Flanagan. Pic: Getty

After a gruelling summer that included "a few PBs in the gym", 28-year-old Townsend said he can't wait to reunite with Cronulla's prized off-season recruit Johnson - who he last played with four years ago during a two-season stint in New Zealand.

"When we played together at the Warriors we were 23, 22 years old and now we're both a lot more older, a lot more mature, have played a lot more NRL games, finals games," Townsend said.

"Even away from footy I'm married with children and Shaun's engaged. Just the maturity levels are a lot more."

Townsend is predicting Johnson, also 28 and the 2014 Golden Boot winner as the world's best player, will take his game to even higher levels at the Sharks.

"I truly do believe that. Him leaving the Warriors, I think it was time to move on and to find a different club," he said.

"Obviously there was a lot of pressure playing at the Warriors, being the face of the Warriors, the face of New Zealand rugby league.

"Whereas over here, we're a team and play like a team and no one individual gets the credit when we win and no one individual cops the brunt of a loss.

"We win as a team and we lose as a team."