Heighington embraces return to Campbelltown
Travelling to Campbelltown Stadium can often be a daunting experience for visiting players but not for Cronulla Sharks forward Chris Heighington, who celebrated his return to the ground with a 34-26 win on the weekend.
Heighington played 201 games for the Tigers, including the 2005 grand final triumph, and says it felt good to be back at the ground he once called home.
The 273-game veteran relished the opportunity to come up against a few of his former teammates; even if the pre-game banter was kept to a minimum.
"I love it here. It's great to be back and I love the fans," Heighington told NRL.com after the win.
"I played 11 years here so it's always good to come back. It's a bit different now because they're booing me, but I love playing here and at Leichhardt.
"He [Farah] played well. Getting over him and 'Woodsy' [Aaron Woods] and Chris Lawrence and [Dene] Halatau is always great. I still hang around them a bit so it's always good to get one over your mates."
The Tigers looked to be in control of the contest leading 16-6, but a try to Cronulla just before half-time seemingly changed the momentum of the game.
Heighington said James Maloney's 37th-minute try gave his side confidence leading into the break, and on the back of a more disciplined performance in the second stanza the visitors were able to grind out the win.
"They definitely came to play. We had a fair bit of ball early and got off to a good start, but they came back at the backend of that first half," he said.
"We just held the ball which helped us get down their end. We got a few back-to-back penalties that got us a few opportunities on their line and we took them.
"We came out in the second half and stuck to our game plans. We didn't drop as much ball and ended up getting a good win."
While he's no longer the 80-minute workhorse he once was, Heighington still provides the Sharks with plenty of purpose when he comes off the bench, averaging roughly 75 metres and 20 tackles per game.
Heighington said the eight-point win could be the spark that gets his side going in 2016, but insists the weekend's win will count for little if they can't back it up against the tenacious Titans.
"I just come on and bring energy. I try to bring a different sort of energy off the bench to get the team going. I did that today and we got a few results," he said.
"It gives us a lot of confidence. We've got a lot of new players here and new combinations, and it's starting to come together really well.
"We've won two in a row now. We go back home against the Titans next week, and they're playing really well, so it should be another good game."