Room for improvement at Sharks: Ayshford
Soft-spoken Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks centre Blake Ayshford will be the first to admit that he hasn't been setting the world on fire this season.
In an injury-ravaged Sharks team, Ayshford and his fellow teammates kicked off the season with four straight losses – their first win, a 37-6 shellacking of the Warriors, finally coming last weekend.
Ayshford, who moved to the Sutherland shire this season from the Wests Tigers where he racked 104 first-grade appearances, admits there is plenty of room for improvement, individually and within his team, but for the meantime he is more than happy just to sing the team song for the first time.
"We've been trying for the first four weeks – we've been close in two of the games but you know it was just good to get our first win and sing the team song," Ayshford told NRL.com.
"I'm happy but not excited. There's still a lot of room for improvement. Hopefully we can see that over the next couple of weeks and I can add to the team."
Ayshford is the latest in a string of former Tigers players to join the Sharks, scoring his first try in Cronulla colours during the weekend's win having averaged a tick under 20 tackles and 50 metres per game.
When asked if he had any regrets about leaving the Tigers, Ayshford replied without hesitation.
"None at all," he said. "I love it – I am loving the change actually. It's a lot more relaxed, great bunch of blokes and hopefully this will be the first win of many for the year."
While Cronulla are stuck at the foot of the ladder, Ayshford believes that their games against the Titans (Round 1) and Dragons (Round 3) – both two-point defeats – could easily have gone the Sharks' way.
"There were two games where we were close and we knew it was just one or two things that were the difference in the game," Ayshford said.
"I think [in Round 4 against the Knights] we were down 6-0 and we had the ball down their end and we lost it and if we score there it would've been 6-all. It's just one or two things in the game we needed to change and we did it [last weekend] – we started well and we got that roll on."
Heading to Brookvale to take on a Manly Sea Eagles side desperately looking to bounce back after last weekend's loss against the Tigers, Ayshford acknowledged that it will be a tough game – especially considering he will be opposite former NZ international Steve Matai.
"We got a couple of tough teams and Manly and the Sharks usually have good, close games – good tough physical games," Ayshford said.
"I think we have to match them physically and hopefully get the two points at Brookie."
With the likes of teammates Eric Grothe Jr, Sosaia Feki and Beau Ryan either biding their time in NSW Cup or returning from injury, Ayshford will be looking to solidify his place in the side this weekend.