Chris Heighington of the Sharks makes a run.
Chris Heighington of the Sharks makes a run. Brendon Thorne

Sharks veteran to join exclusive 300-game club

HE WANTS to win a third NRL premiership, but first the Sharks will attempt to provide Chris Heighington the perfect way to celebrate his 300th NRL game with a win over Newcastle on Saturday.

The 35-year-old will become the 26th player to achieve the milestone when he runs out at Southern Cross Group Stadium, and just the third current player to pass the 300-game mark, along with Melbourne pair Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk.

Heighington made his NRL debut in 2003 for the Wests Tigers, before helping the joint venture win its first premiership two years later alongside Benji Marshall and Scott Prince.

After 201 games at Concord, he shifted to the Sharks in 2013 and was a part of their drought-breaking first title last season.

"To win one premiership is an achievement but then to play 300 games and to win two comps," coach Shane Flanagan said.

"Chris keeps talking about how he wants to win a third comp too. Hopefully it's this year for him."

First things first and victory over the Knights on Saturday is a must.

"We spoke about it during the week, about doing it for one of us," Flanagan said.

"He's an important part of our club and I don't think there's a more popular player in our club. He's a pleasure to be around and coach.

"It's an enormous achievement, especially in the forwards and the way he plays.

"And he's an ambassador, there have never been any troubles around Chris Heighington, he's a great footballer and great person."

Heighington is contemplating extending his career into 2018, which could mean he breaks into the top 10 on the all-time games played list.

MOST GAMES

355 Darren Lockyer (Bris) 1995-2011

350 Terry Lamb (WS/Dogs) 1980-1996

349 Steve Menzies (Manly/Eagles) 1993-2008

347 Corey Parker (Bris) 2001-2016

339 Cameron Smith (Melb) 2002-

336 Brad Fittler (Penrith/Roosters) 1989-2004

332 Cliff Lyons (Nth Sydney/ Manly) 1985-1999

330 Nathan Hindmarsh (Parra) 1998-2012

328 Andrew Ettingshausen (Cronulla) 1983-2000

325 Geoff Gerard (Parra/Manly/Penrith) 1974-1989

News Corp Australia


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