Green gives Flanagan a giant headache
Sharks boss says his opponent has created a new & improved JT
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  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.