Match-winner Leutele doing best by Sharks
He scored the match-winning try in the Sharks' 20-18 win over the Bulldogs but Ricky Leutele is happy to do whatever is required for his club even if it means coming off the bench.
Leutele did the best with the opportunities afforded to him by producing 87 metres and the late four-pointer in his 26-minute stint on Monday night after coming on as an injury replacement for winger Sosaia Feki (groin).
Leutele said scoring the game-winning try – which helped extend the Sharks' win streak to nine – meant a lot to him after spending the past month on the bench.
It's a role which saw him fail to record a single second on the paddock in Round 11 against the Sea Eagles.
"I'm trying to prove that I'm still capable of playing in a starting role," a frank Leutele told NRL.com.
"Coming off the bench my whole purpose at the moment is to make a difference and bring energy to the team. It's tough at times but I'm doing what's best for the team and at this stage it's me coming off the bench.
"I'm not kicking cans or stones or anything like that. I'll just keep doing my job. If I do eventually get the opportunity back starting then I'll take it with both hands."
Fellow Logan Brothers junior teammate Gerard Beale has been duelling with Leutele all season long for a starting centre spot and for the 26-year-old it has proven worthwhile.
"I'd say it's been healthy if anything for us," Leutele said of Beale.
"There's no grudges or anything like that but I make sure I'm keeping him on his toes and he sure keeps me on mine so it's pretty good for us actually."
Of the 17 who played against the Bulldogs, Leutele is among the top three players – behind skipper Paul Gallen and Jayson Bukuya – who has featured for the Sharks over the longest period of time in the NRL.
Leutele said the club's solid 2015 showings has already been bypassed in his mind as the most memorable period he's had as a Shark with the club sitting pretty atop the NRL Telstra Premiership.
"We're going places if we keep turning up the way we have been every week. I don't want to miss out on it because it's a once in a lifetime opportunity with this team," Leutele said.
"We thought we were going pretty good last year but I'd have to say this year is different compared to all the other years I've been here. We have a real strong belief within this team and our system."