Green gives Flana­gan a gi­ant headache

Sharks boss says his op­po­nent has cre­ated a new & im­proved JT

Rugby League Week - - News - BY GREG PRICHARD

CRONULLA COACH SHANE Flana­gan says his Cow­boys coun­ter­part, Paul Green, has made Johnathan Thurston more dan­ger­ous than ever, mak­ing Satur­day’s fi­nal a tremen­dous chal­lenge for him and his team.

“Two or three years ago we were prob­a­bly look­ing at ‘JT’ only on one side of the field, but they’ve played a bit of a dif­fer­ent struc­ture since then and in the struc­ture they’ve got at the mo­ment JT bobs up on both sides of the field,” Flana­gan points out.

“A cou­ple of years ago he was pre­dom­i­nantly on the left and now he’s all over the field and he’s play­ing really well and really con­fi­dently.”

That’s far from the head Shark’s only con­cern with North Queens­land’s halves pair­ing, though.

“They’ll come up with a cou­ple of trick shots and ev­ery­one will think the trick shot is go­ing to be set around JT, but some­times it won’t be,” Flana­gan says. “[Michael] Mor­gan will be in­volved in one of them some­where, so we’ll come up with our plan to counter that.”

The Sharks are in their 50th year and still seek­ing their first grand fi­nal win, but Flana­gan says he and the play­ers aren’t weighed down by his­tory.

“We just look at it as ‘wouldn't it be great to be the first team to win’ and use it as pos­i­tive en­ergy,” he says.

Green was the Cronulla half­back when they played in the 1997 Su­per League grand fi­nal –their last de­cider – and now he’s try­ing to stop his old club from reach­ing another.

“It’s funny how things work out in footy some­times,” Flana­gan says. “We’ve had a few ex-play­ers in to speak to us over the last cou­ple of weeks and one of them, Barry Rus­sell, said one thing that irked him was that in a pretty suc­cess­ful year [1988] he still didn’t get to win a com­pe­ti­tion.

“So we won’t get ahead of our­selves.”

MR EV­ERY­WHERE JT’s li­cence to roam is a ma­jor con­cern for the Sharks.

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