Club will deal with ’ ugly’ in­ci­dents: coach

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - DEAN RITCHIE

SHARKS coach Shane Flana­gan spoke for all of rugby league last night when he de­clared: “We all don’t want the ugly par­ent in sport.”

Flana­gan was talk­ing af­ter learn­ing his star prop An­drew Fi­fita and his twin brother David were in­volved in an ugly in­ci­dent at a ju­nior rugby league game where they abused and threat­ened a ref­eree.

“I was at ju­nior league yesterday. We all don’t want the ugly par­ent in sport. We want the of­fi­cials to feel safe,” Flana­gan said.

“We’re not mak­ing ex­cuses here, as the club will deal with it re­ally strongly. As I said, the right peo­ple are in con­trol of that. I’ll coach the footy team.”

The Sharks put the Fi­fita broth­ers’ al­leged ref­eree abuse to the side to score a cru­cial win and leapfrog the Bull­dogs into sixth place on the lad­der.

Can­ter­bury coach Des Hasler was “filthy” at his side’s bumbling ef­fort yesterday as Cronulla ru­ined the Bull­dogs’ emo­tional re­turn to their spir­i­tual home.

The Bull­dogs fum­bled their way through 80 frus­trat­ing min­utes to hand- de­liver Cronulla an 18- 16 win be­fore nearly 20,000 dis­ap­pointed fans at Bel­more Sports Ground.

Both sides were poor yesterday. To­gether, they com­pleted just 41 of their com­bined 78 sets, made 33 han­dling er­rors and missed 46 tack­les.

While the Sharks moved to within two points of the top four, the Bull­dogs were left tee­ter­ing ahead of this week’s block­buster against the white­hot Syd­ney Roost­ers.

“We are re­ally dis­ap­pointed, prob­a­bly filthy the way we played and how we went about it,” Hasler said.

“We re­ally lost that game, which is dis­ap­point­ing with the fans and ev­ery­body turn­ing up. They de­served a bit bet­ter than what we served up to­day.”

Sharks cap­tain Paul Gallen was placed on re­port for a high tackle on Josh Mor­ris. Cronulla’s Luke Lewis has a knee in­jury and may miss two games.

Yet they took the Cowboys to golden point, beaten 20- 19 as Johnathan Thurston again proved his bril­liance.

The Eels will hope to repli­cate the Sharks’ shock per­for­mance.

They have re­placed No. 7 Chris Sandow, re­leased fol­low­ing a se­ries of blow- ups with the club, with Joseph Paulo who is usu­ally a back­rower.

Arthur said the drama was a non- is­sue for the play­ing group. “We do a good job of shield­ing them from the out­side in­flu­ences,” he said.

“We have had dis­trac­tions all year. It is not new to us. He ( Sandow) has to do what is best for him. We have to move on.

“The boys are try­ing very hard. We are com­pet­ing hard and been in ev­ery game and that’s what our fans want.

“We don’t have much lose ex­cept our pride.”

Cowboys prop Matt Scott is ex­pected to over­come a knee in­jury to play tonight.

Ben Han­nant, who is set to re- sign with the club, said the ab­sence of Sandow was a non­is­sue for his club.

“I couldn’t care less who plays for them,” Han­nant said.

“No mat­ter who they throw in there, we will have the same de­fen­sive struc­tures.”


Sharks winger Valen­tine Holmes cel­e­brates his try.

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