WILL Kennedy's mission this year at the Cronulla Sharks was simple - he aimed to do the best job he could at fullback each week - and as it turned out that approach led him to a whole swag of awards.
Despite it being just the second full season in the NRL for the Bathurst talent, Kennedy won the fan vote for player of the year, was named Cronulla's members' player of the year, got the nod for the Tommy Bishop player's player honour and picked up the Porter-Gallen Medal as the Sharks' player of the year.
They were awards the 24-year-old was surprised and honoured to receive.
"I'm happy with the season I had, it was very surprising to get a few awards, I thought I might get one, so to get a few was very pleasing," he said.
"To get the fan favourite was pretty good and the players' player and to get the Porter-Gallen, that was pretty surprising.
"We had a few others around me that really stood out in the season as well, I thought I was in the mix with them [for the Porter-Gallen], but I never thought I'd actually get it."
Kennedy's highlight reel for the season was long.
He scored 14 tries and led the Sharks in both try assists (15) and line breaks (14) as his speed and improved passing game saw him become a lynchpin of his side's attack.
His combinations with the Sharks' wingers and centres when attacking on the fringes was in particular impressive.
"I love setting the wingers up, Sione [Katoa] and Ronnie [Mulitalo] and Mawene [Hiroti] as well, I loved setting them up and watching them score some freakish tries," he said.
In defence he was safe under the high ball and dangerous on kick returns, but Kennedy felt his highlight of the season was his consistency.
Those strong performances week-in and week-out came even though there were constant changes made to the Sharks' spine. It gave the fullback confidence.
"I'd say the way I started the season and how I built off that, that was probably my highlight of the season," Kennedy said.
"I think my biggest area of improvement was probably being confident in myself, bringing that into the NRL. I'd do it at training and it's good to see I can bring it into the NRL now.
"I think all that [I did] came off the back of all that, having that confidence, and the players around me helping me out as well.
"I just had the same mindset every game, as long as I do my job and do my job for the team I think it didn't matter what halves partnering we had."
The Sharks fell just short of the top eight this season, but given what his side did in a campaign which was at times tumultuous with a coach being axed and players leaving for rival clubs, Kennedy is excited about what lies ahead.
In particular he's keen to play alongside new recruit Nicho Hynes.
"He'll be exciting to play with, he's a very off the cuff player as well and I think we'll gel good together," Kennedy said. "I can't wait for next year to come, I think it will be different with the coaching staff and all the young players backing up again."
As for who Kennedy thinks will win the 2021 premiership: "I think Souths, they've got a good chance, I reckon they will go all the way."
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