NRL season 2016: Shane Flanagan says Cronulla Sharks deserve to play semi at home

by admin on July 13th, 2018

filed under 南京夜网

No doubt: Valentine Holmes to score for the Sharks on Sunday afternoon.As it happened: Sharks v Knights
Nanjing Night Net

Still basking in the glow of his side’s 15th consecutive NRL win, Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan says his all-conquering Sharks should be allowed to play a home semi-final on their own ground.

Flanagan endorsed Cronulla hooker Michael Ennis’ comments from last week that the Sharks should play a prospective home final at Southern Cross Group Stadium at Woolooware rather than have it moved to ANZ Stadium or Allianz Stadium.

Cronulla have won all 10 of their home games in the Shire this season as part of their club record 15-game winning streak, which they continued yesterday with a comfortable 36-4 win over Newcastle.

The Sharks have downed premiership heavyweights and title rivals Brisbane, North Queensland and Melbourne at their spiritual home and Flanagan said Cronulla deserved to play at their home ground, as the interstate teams aroudn them on the ladder  will.

“It’ll be really interesting come those last couple of weeks. Melbourne get a home semi-final, Brisbane could get a home semi-final, North Queensland get a home semi-final, Bulldogs get a home semi-final, Canberra get a home semi-final,” he said. “You could have every team that earns the right to have a home semi-final play at their ground except for us.”

Cronulla remain on top of the NRL table with six rounds remaining, increasing the likelihood they will earn a home semi-final.

The Sharks have also enjoyed impressive support from their home fans, averaging 14,533 crowds this season at Shark Park. But that only puts them 10th highest of all NRL teams this season.

Flanagan said Sharks CEO Lyall Gorman would meet with the NRL today to put forward Cronulla’s case to host a potential qualifying final, although Fairfax Media understands the NRL will not be willing to consider the switch.

“If [we do get a home semi-final], Flanagan said. “It’d be nice to play here. The fans are turning up. Every game we play here it’s been a really good crowd. So [it’d be] a reward for the playing group and what they’ve achieved.”

Flanagan also believes video referees are actively trying to find reasons not to give tries after the Sharks were controversially denied a four-pointer to Ben Barba in their big win over Newcastle yesterday.

Barba looked to have given Cronulla a 14-0 lead after half an hour but the try was disallowed by the video referee bunker. The officials ruled Sharks hooker Michael Ennis had obstructed Knights defender Chris Adams.

Ennis started the move out of dummy half near the halfway line and looked to continue his run to provide support for Barba, but the officials ruled he was in front of the ball and had impeded the defender.

While the decision didn’t cost Cronulla in the end as they ran out comfortable 36-4 winners, Flanagan was left frustrated by the call which added more confusion to the interpretation of the obstruction rule.

“Sometimes I get the feeling with the bunker they’re trying to find a reason not to award a try,” he said.

“That was a good try. Michael Ennis can’t disappear. The marker played at Michael Ennis. He’s running at speed when he passes, he just cannot disappear. Yes he’s in front of the ball but he can’t disappear.

“I’ve seen 1000 tries like that. We’ve scored a couple. If he continues to run and he plays at the marker fair enough but he didn’t. The marker played at him. I thought it was a try.”

Sharks captain Paul Gallen agreed with his coach and questioned the decision with on-field referees Dave Munro and Alan Shortall.

“That’s what I said to the ref, he can’t disappear,” Gallen said.

“As Flano said [Ennis is] passing the ball at speed. You can’t just stop all of a sudden.

“I spoke to the referee at half-time and he said that’s what he needs to do, he has to stop basically.

“It’s one of those ones that can go either way and as Flano said sometimes it feels like they look for a reason not to give it.

“It went against us today and that’s just the way it is. Sometimes they go for you and sometimes they don’t.”

Another point of contention for Flanagan was the 11-9 penalty count blown in the match but he was happy with the way his side eventually outlasted the struggling Knights to score their 15th straight win.

“I thought the game was spoiled by the 20 penalties,” Flanagan said.

“It was just a stop start game, a frustrating game for us.

“I’m not overly concerned about the 19 errors conceding possession because when we need to knuckle down against a really good side, one of those top teams we will.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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