COACH Shane Flanagan has defended his decision to blast his players upon his return to Cronulla, saying they didn’t follow his instructions while he was on a club-enforced suspension.
There was little in the way of sentiment when Flanagan – stood down by the club as part of the ASADA investigation into drugs in rugby league – gathered his men together on the eve of Sunday’s 28-4 win over the Warriors at Sharks Stadium.
He showed them a video compilation of everything they had been doing wrong in the first two games of the season. “He gave us a rocket,” said star five-eighth Todd Carney.
Flanagan tells RLW: “I just gave them my own view of what I saw in the first two games. I hadn’t been able to talk to them as a group.
“I spoke to a lot of them individually over those first two rounds but it wasn’t what we planned for in our off-season, it wasn’t how we planned to attack.
“We were a bit more what I expected from our team in the first half (against the Warriors). Against South Sydney, we were real loose, we didn’t wrestle, our contact was poor, our systems were thrown out the window.
“I just went and told them that. I said ‘it’s not acceptable, we’re all back here and we have to work hard’.
“Most teams have got a bit of a plan and systems in place in offence and defence and we have as well – and we went away from that.”
Carney explained: “He gave us a few hugs when he first got back but once he got into the sheds, he gave us a rocket. We had a fair video sessions. We reviewed both the games that he missed.
“He’s a head coach for a reason. He does a great job. He knows what’s going to happen and that’s why we listen to him and it paid off.
“It’s good to have him back and hopefully we’ll have him for a while.”
The Sharks won one from two while Flanagan cooled his heals and then pummelled the Warriors in sauna-like conditions on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Flanagan was diplomatic when asked if he expected staffers David Givney, Darren Mooney, Mark Noakes and Conrad Schultz to be reinstated.
“I don’t know,” he said. “That’s one of those things I just need to deal day-to-day with, you know?
“They’ll work with the club and we’ll work with the club and I can’t predict that.”
Carney said there was still plenty of improvement in his own game.
“Team-wise, I think we’re going reasonably well with the adversity the boys have been through,” he said.
“Personally, I’m just getting back. It was a major injury. Three weeks of pre-season training is all I had. Hopefully I can build on that.
“We’ve got a big task against the Dragons here on Saturday night. It’s a big two weeks for us – Dragons into Parra into a full bye so it’s a good time to rest and recuperate.”
Filed for: RUGBY LEAGUE WEEK