Gordon wonders what might have been
If Cronulla fullback Michael Gordon had got his way back in May, he would be preparing for Mad Monday after playing his final game of the season this weekend against the Raiders in Eels colours.
Yet as fate would have it, he will instead line up for the Sharks as the club look to secure a top-four berth heading into the finals.
Harbouring no ill-feelings towards the Sharks for not cutting ties with him sooner, a satisfied Gordon remained thankful he is able to see out his time at Cronulla on his terms – before he links with Parramatta for the 2016 season.
"When it was all happening it was hard because I didn't have a lot of control in what was going on and some of the stuff I was reading it was hard not to laugh at it," Gordon said.
"But I've kept turning up and the best thing was all the boys were sweet and they knew I was here for the right reasons.
"[The negotiations] seem like forever ago now so I've tried to maintain the same thing by working hard and whatever happened, happened. Now I'm here I certainly want to enjoy my last remaining weeks at Cronulla and hopefully go out on a good note."
Looking back on what has been "a long season" Gordon admitted he hasn't really begun to savour the final weeks in the Shire despite Sunday's clash with Manly being his final game at Remondis Stadium.
"It's weird because I really want to start savouring every moment but at training it doesn't feel like I have a couple of more sessions left, sort of thing," Gordon said.
"So I suppose I'll start to bring out the party hats at training a bit more now but it's something I'll start looking back on when it's getting close.
"It seems like such a long season. You forget about what's happened. The start of the year seems like forever ago and there's always ebbs and flows during a year where your form is up and your form's down. Luckily it's starting to pay dividends now."
With the Storm, Rabbitohs and Bulldogs all chasing the Sharks current spot in the top four in the final round of the regular season Gordon said he hasn't been surprised by the club's massive turnaround considering their wooden spoon-attaining run in 2014.
Looking back at the injuries that ran riot throughout the club last season, Gordon was buoyed by the fact the club has managed to keep some continuity about them with 12 players managing 20-plus games this season – with a 13th in Luke Lewis set to reach that mark this weekend.
It's a far cry from last year, when only Gordon and fellow outside backs Ricky Leutele and Sosaia Feki were able to achieve the feat among the 37 players who stepped out for the club in 2014.
"Last year was a difficult season for a lot of different reasons but probably the hardest thing was our injuries. Some of our sessions at times involved five or six players who could run because everyone was busted," Gordon said
"So it's been a massive turnaround in that department. But from the start of this season I knew we had the potential to get [to the top four] and even after the poor start I never differed from that.
"Sometimes it made it hard to believe but I was always confident in what we could do. People think we have come from nowhere but I think we've had a pretty good season."