The Courier-Mail

Sharks back ‘inspiring’ Gallen after Gould bite

- PHIL ROTHFIELD

SHARKS coach Shane Flanagan has lashed out at suggestion­s his skipper Paul Gallen is a selfish ball hog who is overplayin­g his role in the team.

After Sunday’s loss to Manly, Panthers general manager Phil Gould turned the blowtorch on the Blues Origin skipper, saying: “The creativity of the team took a back seat to players selfishly looking to advance their own personal run count.”

Gould’s Channel 9 cocommenta­tor Andrew Johns confirmed he was making reference to Gallen (pictured).

The veteran forward was forced to take on the extra workload because his middle partner, Sam Tagataese, got hurt and played only 20 minutes and the Sharks were again without Andrew Fifita – two players who normally share the hard metres.

Flanagan leapt to Gallen’s defence yesterday, declaring the skipper was trying to lift his teammates.

“On Sunday I thought he tried to inspire the group by his actions,” Flanagan said.

“I’d rather have a person in my team who wants to inspire his teammates than sit back and watch others do it.

“This week we’ve got Fifita and Tagataese back so Gal can play his natural role.”

Flanagan says Gallen has purposely done less for the Sharks this year because of the better quality of players around him.

“He doesn’t feel like he has to do everything now,” Flanagan said.

Gould also slammed the NSW Blues captain after this year’s 2-1 series loss to Queensland.

“I hardly know him,” Gallen said. “Not sure what his beef is with me.”

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