How Good Is: Michael Gordon
As he suits up for his 150th game against the Warriors this weekend, Cronulla Sharks fullback Michael Gordon deserves his plaudits in what has been an otherwise miserable season for his Shire-based club.
While the Sharks have been pinned to the bottom of the competition ladder Gordon has remained one of the constant positives for Cronulla in 2014 and alongside vice-captain Wade Graham has played every game this season so far.
Nicknamed 'Flash', the 30-year-old still has speed to burn even after leg and knee injuries restricted him to just 16 appearances across 2011 and 2012 during his final years at the Penrith Panthers.
His tally of six tries, 10 line breaks, six line break assists and 63 tackle breaks (12th in the NRL) so far this season is an outstanding feat considering the Sharks have won only five games and have produced just 275 points and 48 tries throughout the year – the fewest in the competition. In fact, Gordon is responsible for 37 per cent of the Sharks' points this season and is responsible for almost one tenth of Cronulla's total metres gained, with his averaged 126.8 metres per game.
If there is one thing that Gordon should be praised for it is his outstanding support play. With players like Andrew Fifita, Luke Lewis and Paul Gallen capable of getting an arm free and throwing an offload, Gordon can usually be seen floating around the ruck watching and waiting to strike in support of his bigger men punching through the advantage line. Half of Gordon's tries this season have come from supporting his teammates when they hit the opposition defence and with the speed he possesses it can happen in a blink of an eye.
Goal kicking is an admirable trait of Gordon's as well. This season Gordon has kicked 39 goals from 48 attempts, ranking him fourth in the competition with a success rate of 81.25 per cent.
Gordon's crucial try against the Penrith in Round 8 was probably one of the most memorable of Cronulla's season. Having won just one of their first seven games, the Sharks were trailing 14-12 with 13 minutes remaining when Jeff Robson put up a bomb from 40 metres out with Gordon by his side. Gordon burst clear to go one-on-one with opposite fullback Matt Moylan, before jumping above and beyond the youngster to cross under the sticks. Gordon converted the try himself, and Cronulla went on to win by four.