Menace Ennis a star in the Shark tank
MICHAEL Ennis is a divisive character.
In fact, his on-field antics at times border on grubbiness.
No middle of the road exists with Ennis.
Fans either love him or can't cop him, with the determining factor usually the colour of his jersey.
Yet, in analysing the indifferent form of the Bulldogs in 2015 Ennis is at the forefront of discussions.
And last Sunday, when the Sharks sprung an upset and leapfrogged the Dogs on the ladder, clear evidence emerged that Ennis is the menace.
The match was billed as a potential cracker.
Both teams were sitting just inside the eight and the clash was back at Belmore, in front of a sold-out crowd.
But - to use a Phil Gould-ism - it was a bludger of a game.
The teams completed at 57% and 58% respectively, missed a combined total of 40 tackles, made 39 handling errors and conceded 19 penalties.
The only savior in maintaining interest was the final scoreline of 18-16.
But that's just the kind of game in which Ennis revels.
He loves a scrappy, stop-start affair.
He's right at home when penalties are flowing, balls are being dropped and tempers are fraying.
When the Bulldogs announced midway through last season they had signed unheralded 21-year-old Sharks hooker Michael Lichaa and would not be retaining Ennis, heads were scratched.
Although 30 at the time, Ennis had had five fruitful years at the Dogs, was their captain and had taken them to two grand finals.
Whether that move has backfired on the Bulldogs is yet to be answered, but last Sunday it certainly failed.
Ennis made eight runs from dummy half for 47m and pulled off 25 tackles.
Lichaa, on the other hand, made just two runs for nine metres, but did make 50 tackles.
The busy Sharks No.9 unquestionably took the honours and was summarily named Channel 9's man of the match.
Lichaa has been disappointing at the Dogs, while Ennis has blossomed at Cronulla.
Recently, on the eve of his 250th NRL game, veteran forward Luke Lewis praised Ennis as the man who had convinced the Sharks to believe in themselves.
I worked with Mick Ennis at the Broncos and he has an insatiable appetite for learning. He was always keen to do media and is now a very accomplished performer - a Jekyll and Hyde, some may say.
But he sure is a winner.
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