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Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks: Flanagan declares referees disgraceful

Having just seen his side dumped from the NRL Finals and unable to defend their crown, Sharks coach Shane Flanagan did not hold back in his post-match press conference.


It’s never easy to face up to the end of your season in the NRL and Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks coach Shane Flanagan has come out swinging in his post-match press conference in the wake of his side’s 15-14 extra time loss to the North Queensland Cowboys.

Flanagan is a combative figure at the best of times but he claimed that the referees were disgraceful during his side’s loss, before pointing out several instances where he felt his side were hard done by or copped the wrong decision.

Flanagan: The system needs fixing

The long-time Sharks coach produced a written list of what he said were 10 decisions that were wrongly awarded against his side as he continued to vent over the desperate need for the game to fix on-field officiating errors.

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He backed up Manly coach Trent Barrett, who also blew up post game after his side went down 22-10 to the Penrith Panthers last night. And then Flanagan suggested the pair who took control of today’s game, Ashley Klein and Gavin Badger, would not be in charge come Grand Final day but that the men with the whistles could have a big impact on the showpiece fixture.

The Premiership winning mentor was also stunned that the referee awarded a try to Jason Taumalolo, which was confirmed by the NRL bunker due to insufficient evidence to allow it to be overruled. Several replays failed to confirm the ball was grounded by the New Zealand international, but as it was sent to the bunker as a try, it couldn’t be overturned.

For several weeks now there have been calls for the current system of review to be urgently overhauled by the powers that be. In its current guise, the system requires a referee to make a decision on whether or not a try should be awarded, with the bunker then asked to adjudicate whether there is sufficient evidence to overturn the referee’s initial decision.

The referees impacted on the game

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Flanagan was left in no doubt that the referees had impacted on the result and that the system was in desperate need of fixing. He did suggest that both his team and the Cowboys were brave and had played a tough game of football.

The Cowboys had limped to the first week of the finals with a crippling injury toll and were expected by most pundits to struggle to overcome the Sharks in Sydney. The Sharks had plenty of the early running and a good lead, but the North Queensland side were able to peg them back and lock up the contest before edging in front courtesy of a field goal from Michael Morgan during extra time, which would prove to be the difference on the day.

Do you agree with Shane Flanagan, or were the Cowboys the better team on the day? Let us know in the comments below.

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Daniel Lang

Rugby League & Cricket editor at RealSport.

Daniel is a passionate advocate for the game of rugby league and the development of the sport across the world and, as such, writes with a zeal and determination to spread the gospel of the game.

A huge fan of cricket, football, NFL, Tennis and Supercar racing in Australia, Daniel can quickly find himself a casual fan of just about any sport after putting his mind to watching it.

Daniel is also one-half of the hugely successful podcast 'Panthers Weekly with Strawbs & Teach' where he talks all things Panthers Weekly while he also hosts the current affairs show 'the Strawbs Show' and the 'Summer of Cricket with Strawbs & Shnuu' as well as appearing on the Sydney FC covering 'Nothing But Blue Skies' podcast occasionally.

  • Tinkled

    Don’t follow either team so I claim no bias. I do however agree wholeheartedly with Flanagan. I have played and watched the game for over 60 years and never over that period have I seen a clutch of ham-fisted of the like we have officiating these days. Not only do they not enforce the rules of the game but also make judgements which are clearly wrong and not only in the game mentioned above but over the entire season.
    Watching this particular refereeing display I began to wonder if there could be other financial interests at play

    • John McCullough

      You must be joking. The sharks lost the game because the way they played. 37 missed tackles to 10 by the Cowboys. Ill discipline cost then the game not the refereeing.

      • John McCullough

        Also, do not forget, this club has a diabolical history of drug cheating raping and gang banging women. Maloney is the number penalized player in the league. Do not blame the refs for their own stuff ups.

Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks: Flanagan declares referees disgraceful

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