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I never doubted myself says Shark Townsend

NZN 23/09/2016 James MacSmith

Cronulla halfback Chad Townsend claims his confidence never suffered after his NRL qualifying-finals sacking, despite disagreeing with coach Shane Flanagan's decision to hook him during the win over Canberra.

Townsend bounced back from that season low in fine style on Friday night, starring in the Sharks' preliminary-final win over defending premiers North Queensland.

The Sharks' junior scored one first-half try and laid on another after the break to put the nightmare of his effort against the Raiders well behind him.

"A couple of people have spoken about what happened in Canberra," Townsend said.

"It wasn't about me in Canberra - it was about the team.

"We got a good win. I didn't agree with what happened about being taken off but I respect Flanno and I respect the decision he had to make.

"At the time, I was like, what's going on?

"I'm just thankful my boys supported me. Throughout the last couple of weeks, I've had outstanding support from not only the players and coaching staff but past players have reached out.

"After that, it was about moving on. You have to take it as a man. It's a man's game. Sometimes, things don't go your way. It's about how you respond. That's all I focused in on."

Townsend said he focused on the form he had shown through much of 2016 in the lead-up to the clash with the Cowboys.

"I thought about the things I'd done this year," he said.

"My preparation and work ethic hasn't changed. I've tried to focus in on that. It was about backing myself, knowing that I've put in the work and the time to put in a good performance. I've had plenty of support from the boys in the locker room and coaching staff.

Townsend will head into Sunday week's grand final full of confidence.

"I'm very pleased I could put in a performance I know I can do."

"For me, it was about getting back to basics. I'm not only happy how I've responded, it's the greatest bunch of boys. It was about believing about myself and what I've done. I backed myself and I've done that since day one."

Townsend's halves partner James Maloney never doubted he would bounce back.

"I don't know if it was a tough period. He had one game that wasn't perfect; I don't think it was as terrible as everyone was saying," Maloney said.

"We knew, he's been outstanding for us all year so I had every faith he was going to come back and do the job. He's very important to this side and, no doubt, he's got another big 80 in him."

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