Ennis not using retirement as Sharks motivator
Selfless Sharks hooker Michael Ennis won't be using his impending retirement to fire up his teammates ahead of the NRL Telstra Premiership grand final on Sunday week.
The 32-year-old played his 50th game for the Sharks in their 32-20 win over reigning premiers North Queensland and couldn't believe his luck over being able to finish his career in an NRL grand final.
For what will be the Sharks' first premiership decider in a unified competition in 38 years, Ennis said he'll continue to deflect praise from his teammates.
Coach Shane Flanagan said post-game that Ennis refused to make any part of the Sharks' preparation for the Cowboys personal despite it potentially being the end of his career.
Ennis will now gear up for the second grand final of his career having previously featured in the 2012 decider in his former Bulldogs team's loss to the Storm.
Ennis was cruelly denied an opportunity to play in the Bulldogs' grand final defeat to the Rabbitohs two years later – in what would've been his final game for the club – after breaking his foot.
"Next week is wonderful for me personally that I get an opportunity in my last game of footy ever to play in a grand final. It's unbelievable, to be honest," Ennis said.
"But there's 17 of us who will run out next Sunday. It's not about me individually.
"Guys I really admire who are now good mates of mine like Gal (Paul Gallen), Lewie (Luke Lewis), Andrew Fifita, Chris Heighington and Wade (Graham) at times have mentioned and said nice things about me, but I haven't gone down that path."
What Ennis did encourage however is for his younger teammates to embrace the inevitable support which will hit the Shire over the coming week.
"It's important we take [the support] in. We have wonderful supporters and we've seen that all year," Ennis said.
"Through the week, driving the streets of Cronulla and seeing the flags on cars and out the front of the houses, my one thought was 'I hope we don't let them down' and I'm glad we didn't."
Ennis remained composed in the aftermath of the Sharks' preliminary final victory and was firm in his assessment that the club hasn't achieved anything yet.
"Our young guys are so motivated by what we want to achieve. But we won't get too far ahead of ourselves," Ennis said.
"You can never predict what happens next Sunday but I know we'll do everything we can to make sure we're ready."
The Sharks will play the winner of Saturday night's preliminary final between the Melbourne Storm and Canberra Raiders at AAMI Park.
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