Matt Prior of the Sharks gets past a tackle by Elliot Whitehead of the Raiders during their NRL qualifying final.
Matt Prior of the Sharks gets past a tackle by Elliot Whitehead of the Raiders during their NRL qualifying final. PAUL MILLER

Ennis lavishes praise on teammate Prior

RUGBY LEAGUE: Michael Ennis has praised the efforts of Cronulla teammate Matt Prior following the Sharks' 16-14 win over the Canberra Raiders in Saturday's qualifying final.

Prior stepped up to play 73 minutes in Canberra after skipper Paul Gallen missed the match with a back problem and stand-in captain Wade Graham was forced off with concussion early in the game.

The forward ran for 233 metres from 22 carries, had 37 tackles, scored a try just before half-time which changed the game and a made an offload leading to his team's other touchdown.

"His form throughout the year has been exceptional,” Ennis told NRL.com.

"He plays in a side where there are good forwards with great reputations in Gallen and Fifita and Graham and Lewis, and a lot of his stuff goes unnoticed. He's been outstanding for us all year.

"For a front-rower to change the momentum of the game at 38 minutes after playing 38 straight is as good as I've seen from a front-rower.

"In semi-finals there are always moments, and you need to make sure you're in the frame when they arise. Matt Prior was that in the first half and he changed the momentum heading into half-time. From there the spirits lifted.”


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