Six talking points from Cronulla Sharks vs North Queensland Cowboys elimination final

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    The reigning premiers have been dismissed from the NRL Finals by a spirited North Queensland Cowboys outfit in the first NRL elimination final after an extra time classic. Here are my talking points from the thrilling encounter.

    Now, before we move into them, I feel obligated to mention this is a referee bashing-free zone. Calls went both ways, and they will not be mentioned again. I don’t want to talk about them, nor do we need to.

    » Five talking points Sea Eagles vs Panthers
    » Six talking points Storm vs Eels
    » Six talking points Roosters vs Broncos

    Moving right along.

    The premiers are gone again and going back-to-back is impossible
    It’s impossible to win the NRL premiership two years in a row. It’s never going to happen in this era, and it’s as simple as that.

    The feat of winning back-to-back premierships in Australia’s top flight rugby league competition (under any name) hasn’t been done since 1992 and 1993 (don’t remind me), unless you count the Super League in 1997.

    All season, the Sharks have been close but not quite there. They have been in the top four without really playing well, ended up finishing outside and ended up paying for it.

    Premiership fatigue and the desire to win after taking out the top spot the season before is a real thing in the NRL, no matter which way you look at it. The longer the season went on, the worse the Sharks looked. It was a typical premiership defence – both efforts and result-wise – and it failed miserably at the end.

    More on the Sharks’ season later, but it’s obvious going back-to-back won’t happen.

    Paul Gallen Cronulla Sharks NRL Rugby League Finals 2017

    (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

    Can the Cowboys defeat the Eels?
    We all wrote them off against the Sharks, and in fairness, they had no right to win. The Cowboys took the lead for the first time in the 85th minute.

    That in itself is incredible. If the Sharks had been ruthless and made the most of their opportunities, the Cowboys would have been blown off the park. Of course, that didn’t happen and the Sharks made a lot of errors, had poor decision making and gave away dumb penalties.

    As much as we can blast for the Sharks for their rubbish performance, the credit has to be heaped on the men from Townsville.

    They defended like their lives depended on it, put pressure on their opponents at every turn, and even with a weak attack managed to find build enough pressure to score two tries. Neither of the tries were brilliant, and neither came off the back of an amazing attacking play, but the bottom line is that the Cowboys cracked the Sharks twice.

    Holding their nerve under extreme fatigue in golden point wasn’t bad either, and you can bet your dollar they were on their last legs.

    All things considered, the Cowboys did exactly what everyone said they were going to and got a result everyone thought wasn’t coming.

    So, with the Eels next week, can they cause another upset? If we learnt anything today, they will compete for 80 minutes. It’ll be close, probably low-scoring and the game will be alive at the death.

    If the Cowboys get a good start, they might find their way over. The Eels’ defence isn’t quite on the same level as Cronulla’s. While it’d be a shock to see the Cowboys in the third week, it’s impossible to write it off.

    Jason Taumalolo is worth every cent of his contract
    Let’s start with the raw numbers.

    Seventy-two minutes, 22 runs, 256 metres, a try, a line break, a stack of post-contact metres and 37 tackles without a miss. If that doesn’t scream ‘domination’ – or indeed ‘saviour’ – then nothing ever will.

    The Kiwi forward was amazing for the Cowboys. He turned up time and time again, averaged almost 12 metres per carry and scored a try where he was flat-footed five metres out then dragged a third of the Cronulla team over the line with him before somehow finding a way to get the ball to the ground.

    He was utterly dominant. Taumalolo is undoubtedly the best forward in the game, and there have been times this season where he has gone without credit, mainly because he received so much last year and he hasn’t done anything different to that.

    What he does every week goes above and beyond, and the Cowboys have made the best investment possible with his decade-long contract.

    Jason Taumalolo

    (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas)

    Andrew Fifita – rocks, diamonds and costly mistakes
    Fifita has always been known as a bit of an inconsistent player. The Cronulla, New South Wales and Australian front-rower has the potential to turn a game on its head in a matter of minutes with his furious ball running, but he can turn games both ways with his mind-numbing madness.

    Unfortunately for the Sharks, it was all on display against the Cowboys. It was, for the most part, actually quite a strong game from the big prop. He ran hard for plenty of metres and made the Cowboys pack look weak at times.

    He gave away some silly penalties, though, and cost the Sharks their final opportunity of the game. Setting for a field goal, they were on track to give James Maloney a shot from 25 metres out. Instead, Fifita ran sideways and then offloaded to no one.

    Fifita has risen before to play some huge games – remember the 2016 grand final and Origin 1 this year? – but his inconsistency must drive supporters mad.

    Michael Morgan excels again under pressure
    If the Cowboys are going to beat the Eels next week, then Michael Morgan is going to be the key man, as he has every week since Johnathan Thurston was injured.

    He showed jitters early taking control of the team for the first time, but he has been sensational over the last couple of months. Every week, he turns up, directs traffic around for the Cowboys and while he hasn’t been able to get them over the line a number of times, he has contributed big time when it’s counted.

    Think back to Round 25. The Cowboys, effectively playing for their season against the Tigers, were down by plenty in the final quarter of an hour. Morgan constructed three tries in nine minutes to secure victory.

    He didn’t do as much on the attacking brilliance front against the Sharks, but he controlled the game. His kicking game was superb, whether clearing, attacking or from mid range, and he summed up most situations very well to keep the Cowboys calm and collected.

    This is a man who has grown into his role brilliantly, and talk of him gaining a starting a role in Mal Meninga’s Australian team at the Rugby League World Cup starting at the end of October is well-deserved.

    Michael Morgan North Queensland Cowboys NRL Rugby League 2017

    (Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)

    What to make of Cronulla’s 2017 season?
    We’ve already touched briefly on the plight of the Sharks 2017 season, and the fact they weren’t able to become back-to-back premiers, but what do we make of their frustrating season?

    It’s hard to know what to write about the Sharks. This is a side that wasn’t expected to make the eight by a majority of punters and experts before the season started – reviewing my own pre-season ladder, I had them pencilled in for seventh or eighth.

    I thought that was fair. They have unearthed a gem of a player in Jayden Brailey, while Valentine Holmes has gone from strength to strength throughout 2017. Their forwards have been tenacious as ever, Chad Townsend keeps going up the gears and Paul Gallen has led from the front again – as he did yesterday, making an impressive 55 tackles.

    While Shane Flanagan’s men have been constantly brought undone by errors, penalties and a lack of discipline, this is by no means a bad season. They almost finished in the top four – and probably would have if not for some injuries derailing them through the middle third of the season – and should have advanced to Week 2.

    In all seriousness, their final game in 2017 summed it up. They dominated, had a stack of opportunities and simply couldn’t make it count.

    The Sharks will be there and thereabouts again 2018 – you can count on it.

    Roarers, what did you make of the game and first weekend of finals action?

    Scott Pryde
    Scott Pryde

    One of the mainstays of The Roar, Scott Pryde has written over 1200 articles covering everything from rugby league to basketball, from tennis to cricket. You can follow him on Twitter @sk_pryde.

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    The Crowd Says (106)

    • Roar Rookie

      September 11th 2017 @ 7:38am
      Dogs Boddy said | September 11th 2017 @ 7:38am | ! Report

      That is a pretty good assessment mate.

      Our season has been far too up and down this year. Consistency matters, and while we have the defence to grind out wins our attack has let us down. It shows what a difference Ben Barba makes to a team. You can try pointing the finger elsewhere (refs, bunker, ground, star alignment etc) but at the end of the day we have just not been able to score points well this year.

      The Cowboys played a spirited game and defended extremely well. It wasn’t a pretty game by any measure, but it was solid and full of heart. I don’t see the Cowboys going much further, but then again I didn’t think they would be in the contest yesterday either.

      Penaltis and errors cost us another shot this year. Big Gal almost got us the win with a charge at the line in the dying minutes of regular time, but the smart play would have been to give Maloney another shot at a field goal.

      You can play what if all day, and the haters are out in spades crapping on about how glad they are that the “Grubs” are gone, but I am still proud of the boys and will line up again next year for another interesting season. Up Up Cronulla.

      By the way not only is going back to back an issue, but since 2007 (when the Titans joined the comp) only Manly have managed to win the title more than once. Food for thought.

      • Roar Guru

        September 11th 2017 @ 7:56am
        Scott Pryde said | September 11th 2017 @ 7:56am | ! Report

        Cheers mate,

        Good point about Barba, but I reckon the injury to Brailey might have knocked his confidence around a bit. I mean, he was never in the same league as Ennis, but the difference between the first however many weeks he played, and when he was gone/came back was pretty noticeable.

        That’s the thing about the Cows – no one (including me) saw them winning yesterday. Can they compete with the Eels? Yeah, sure. Can they beat the Eels? Who knows.

        Good point about premierships since 2007. Very good.

        • Roar Guru

          September 11th 2017 @ 8:38am
          Nat said | September 11th 2017 @ 8:38am | ! Report

          Agree with that. Barba had the experience, speed and nouse to pop up where required to finish an opportunity for the sharks that Holmes dosen’t quite have yet. Brailey has played well in his debut year but it is also the experience of Ennis who was passing the ball to the right person at the right time. It is 1% stuff but in a 1 point game…

          • Roar Rookie

            September 11th 2017 @ 8:51am
            Dogs Boddy said | September 11th 2017 @ 8:51am | ! Report

            The same could also be said for the Cowboys without JT.

            They have the defence to win, and showed that last night, but are lacking something in attack. The bones are there but the polish has gone and that is what JT brings to the game.

            It’s why I will be very interested to see what happens to the Storm when Cronk departs next year.

        • Roar Rookie

          September 11th 2017 @ 8:48am
          Dogs Boddy said | September 11th 2017 @ 8:48am | ! Report

          Young Jaiden has been a real find for us. I might tend to agree about his form before and after his jaw got broken, but there is no denying he has a bright future in front of him. It will take a while to replace Ennis, but he is certainly on his way.

          • Roar Guru

            September 11th 2017 @ 11:01am
            Nat said | September 11th 2017 @ 11:01am | ! Report

            Agree with both. Very good young player and sowed that again yesterday. Gal will take the ball up 4 times each set if he could but I felt Ennis would take the better option where as Brailey will do as he is told. Not a criticism, just experience.

            Losing Conk is huge – look at Qld. However, I watched the Qld Intust Cup yesterday, Sunshine Coast v Easts – both Storm feeder teams and their halves are already next level. Storm maybe not Minor Prems a month out but still easily finals contenders.

      • September 11th 2017 @ 12:15pm
        Albo said | September 11th 2017 @ 12:15pm | ! Report

        Agree totally about the Sharks missing Barba, or at least some ” x-factor ” player that can create something from nothing in attack. The Sharks game plan is a power based game off their forwards dominating and grinding down their opposition into submission. If the opposition pack holds them for 80 , they have little in plan B options . Their halves don’t create enough for mine. Their outside backs are good solid runners but rarely create anything. Their only real attacking weapons are Fifita ( on his very good days) and their edge runners Graham & Lewis when defences tire. I am still not sure how they won the comp last year, apart from lady luck with injuries, and the fact that destiny called for it to be their turn at last. Going forward, I think Brailey is a beauty and will be key for them in coming years, but he is going to need some help from the main game managers , the halves. I have never been convinced about Townsend and his consistency, and Maloney is fast approaching a liability stage with his quantity of errors over the good things he does. Perhaps their high flying Holden Cup squad has some future answers there ?

    • Roar Guru

      September 11th 2017 @ 7:53am
      Con Scortis said | September 11th 2017 @ 7:53am | ! Report

      Great stuff Scottie!

      The other thing I learned from this match is that the NRL conspiracy theorists come out of their holes at this time of year.

      We had Karma Miranda, Benji, JVGO and Paul saying on your blog that the match was definitely fixed in favour of the Cowboys, whilst ShaneWarne’sLoveChild and others said the match was definitely fixed in favour of the Sharks.

      This leads me to believe that the real reason the NRL has appointed two lead refs is to have one ref fix the match in favour of one team and the second ref fix the match in favour of the other team.

      The NRL should be commended for this as this represents “fair and balanced” officiating.

      • Roar Guru

        September 11th 2017 @ 8:05am
        Scott Pryde said | September 11th 2017 @ 8:05am | ! Report

        Thanks for that Con,

        You’re not wrong about that. But it is what it is mate – referee bashing is a pastime, which is why I made it very clear at the start of the article that this was a referee free one.

        You have come up with the conspiracy to end all conspiracies there. Still, there were decisions each way, and anyone saying they were robbed yesterday has their eyes painted on. Shane Flanagan leads the list of that club after his ridiculous press conference.

      • September 11th 2017 @ 10:19am
        JVGO said | September 11th 2017 @ 10:19am | ! Report

        Mate that thread was just a wall to wall excuse for the idiot Queenslanders and Gallen and Sharks haters to crawl out of the woodwork and talk absolute crap. None of them had any idea last year, and they don’t this year either. Flanno was 100% justified in calling out the rubbish decisions yesterday. 100%. Cronulla were never going back to back and the Cowboys have zero chance as well. After the entire farcical weekend of poor crowds and ludicrous decisions the NRL’s credibility is pretty much in tatters.

        • Roar Guru

          September 11th 2017 @ 11:07am
          Nat said | September 11th 2017 @ 11:07am | ! Report

          Grow up JVGO. They lost because they weren’t good enough to win. Personal insults are the refuge of the small mind.

          • September 11th 2017 @ 12:32pm
            JVGO said | September 11th 2017 @ 12:32pm | ! Report

            Flanno has not said a word about refs for two years. Maybe he should have. He has put up with at times farcical treatment of Maloney this year, a two time premiership winner, NSW 5/8, and now the biggest penalty magnet in the history of the game. Really?? Lewis has also copped a lot of soft penalties this year. It has eroded the confidence and performance of one of his key players and after the farce yesterday he has these senior players like Lewis and Maloney blowing up in the dressing room. He simply had to say something. There was no alternative. Every Sharks fan who was at the game and has watched the whole season was 100% behind him. The haters can say what they want.

            • September 11th 2017 @ 4:29pm
              Happy as Larry! said | September 11th 2017 @ 4:29pm | ! Report

              Mate…your a child! Do you hear yourself? and “Flanno” is being fined so your wrong there. There is no conspiracy and every team during the year can cry foul…its human error by humans. If you never make a mistake…then you could be the greatest referee of all time instead of a currently great keyboard warrior! So get out there and become a ref…since its so easy!

              • September 11th 2017 @ 6:17pm
                JVGO said | September 11th 2017 @ 6:17pm | ! Report

                I’ll back Flanno over Greenburg any day. Green bug wouldn’t want to admit the ludicrously mediocre job he is doing would he. He is a massive part of the problem, Zero brains, zero leadership.

              • September 12th 2017 @ 8:48am
                664 the neighbour of the beast said | September 12th 2017 @ 8:48am | ! Report

                “Green bug”…this really shows the intelligence of JVGO! Very mature!

            • September 12th 2017 @ 1:31am
              doogs said | September 12th 2017 @ 1:31am | ! Report

              Hey relax guy. Ain’t no conspiracy. Bit worried about you buddy

          • September 11th 2017 @ 1:17pm
            JVGO said | September 11th 2017 @ 1:17pm | ! Report

            And Paul Green was fined this year for complaining about the refs, unlike Flanno until yesterday. Flanno was 100% justified. He will not be fined despite the usual suspects and haters because he checked what he said with the NRL beforehand.

      • September 11th 2017 @ 10:49am
        Jimmmy said | September 11th 2017 @ 10:49am | ! Report

        I believe all the results on the weekend are pre arranged by the Illuminatti . Did you know Greenwood is directly related to 8 of the last 10 American presidents.? Think about it.

    • Roar Guru

      September 11th 2017 @ 8:05am
      Con Scortis said | September 11th 2017 @ 8:05am | ! Report

      Also Scottie, what’s the deal with your tardiness in publishing this article? I mean, I know you have multiple blogs over several sports, numerous pre-match articles, multiple post match summaries, several talking point summaries, etc, but this tardiness is inexcusable.

      I expect to see your next talking point summary on my desk in triplicate within 30 minutes of the end of the Broncos-Panthers match, otherwise they’ll be hell to pay!

      Of course I’m busting your balls, mate. You do an awesome job.

      • Roar Guru

        September 11th 2017 @ 8:07am
        Scott Pryde said | September 11th 2017 @ 8:07am | ! Report

        Ha! Tardiness ye’ reckon. I had it written last night, just took a while for the eds to get to. Finals talking points are published day after the match.

        Also, I’m off next Friday for Broncos-Panthers. Not to fear, someone will be on it, but with other events on, it’s going to be impossible for me to do talking points at this stage, unfortunately.

        Cheers mate, appreciate it.

        • Roar Guru

          September 11th 2017 @ 8:14am
          Con Scortis said | September 11th 2017 @ 8:14am | ! Report

          You tell the eds to see me in my office at 11 am sharp. They are in BIG trouble!

    • September 11th 2017 @ 8:42am
      Pedro the Maroon said | September 11th 2017 @ 8:42am | ! Report

      Point 7. This game was an example of what makes sport so great. Completely unpredictable – a roller coaster ride for everyone – even neutral Dragons supporters like me.
      It came down to the Sharks trying for too many solo instances of brilliance rather than just set up for the field goal – not once but twice.
      As for Shane Flanagan – did he even congratulate the Cows on their effort? A sad bitter twisted little man. And that type of mentality seeps down throughout a club. We’ve all had lunatics for bosses and seen how that affects team morale. It’s organisational behaviour 101. Now there’s an article …
      Sharks will be no chance in 2018 if he’s the coach.
      Thanks for the weekend efforts Scott.

      • September 11th 2017 @ 9:09am
        KingCowboy said | September 11th 2017 @ 9:09am | ! Report

        I have lost all respect for that guy. I thought he was actually going to cry, that would have made me laugh!

      • September 11th 2017 @ 9:37am
        JVGO said | September 11th 2017 @ 9:37am | ! Report

        Rubbish. Flanno led the club through the worst time in the club’s history and then to a premiership. He was 100% right in the presser yesterday. 100%. To have an entire crowd chanting ‘bullshit’ as the the Cowboys lined up the penalty to tie the game is not the best look for the game. Even Green said they didn’t deserve to win that game. They were rubbish and every point they scored was off the back of a wrong decision. Every Cronulla fan yesterday was outraged at the performance of the referees as well as disappointed in Cronulla’s ordinary performance. But I guess at least it’s a chance for Queenslanders and Gallen haters to wind their small minds up. They didn’t know anything about football last year and if they want to talk North Queensland up after that $130 worth of rubbish they don’t know anything this year either.

        • September 11th 2017 @ 9:57am
          Jarryd said | September 11th 2017 @ 9:57am | ! Report

          Mate the crowd was 95% cronulla supporters of course they’re chanting bullshit. It’s like going to an ashes game and complaining every single half shout from the aussies isn’t given just cos the crowd thinks it’s out.

          Both sides got dud calls, cronulla had a chance to level it and fifita went for the hero play. Blame your discipline not the refs.

          Also flanagan lost all credibility when he tried to compare himself to Barrett in the first 5 seconds. The former moaned for a good 5 minutes blaming everyone except the idiot who threw the game away, while the latter acted with a bit of class and copped it sweet.

        • Roar Rookie

          September 11th 2017 @ 10:04am
          Matthew Pearce said | September 11th 2017 @ 10:04am | ! Report

          The crowd was only chanting “bull!” about decisions that went against them. A bit like how Flanagan only complained about the decisions that went against them. Also conveniently ignoring that all of Cronulla’s points scored were off the back of dodgy decisions.

          Suck it up, 50-50s go for and against every team, every game. The Sharks had multiple opportunities to win the game and they couldn’t do it.

        • September 11th 2017 @ 10:31am
          db said | September 11th 2017 @ 10:31am | ! Report

          “Flanno led the club through the worst time in the club’s history and then to a premiership.”

          He also led them straight into the worst time in the club’s history. It would appear he didn’t take much out of the education programs he was forced to undertake whilst suspended for almost a year,

        • September 11th 2017 @ 11:31am
          R N said | September 11th 2017 @ 11:31am | ! Report

          Whether he was 100% right at the press conference is immaterial, he is a adult in a position of authority with a group of men that he may lead next year.
          Publicly he needed to man up and take some responsibility for what was a poor performance by his side… and it was a poor performance irrelevant of the decisions!
          A couple of thoughts…
          – What was the message he was sending to young members of his team?
          – Do you really think Lewis enjoyed his name being brought up like that? I bet he is privately seething to be name dropped in such an embarrassing display!
          – A couple of the sharks players seem to have a good head on them; the respect some of them would have lost for their coach and captain in that 5-10 min won’t be gained again any time soon.

          I suppose what I am saying is that their was little to gain but a lot to lose from doing what they did!

          What should have been written on top of the piece of paper was,”Don’t mention below list, congratulate the Cows, compliment my team for their effort this year, be a man.”

          • Roar Rookie

            September 11th 2017 @ 11:36am
            Matthew Pearce said | September 11th 2017 @ 11:36am | ! Report

            Bingo. The whole affair is embarrassing. Thankfully there are plenty of coaches and supporters who are far more mature.

          • September 11th 2017 @ 11:41am
            JVGO said | September 11th 2017 @ 11:41am | ! Report

            Flanno hasn’t talked about refs all year. Maybe he should have. As a fan I think he needed to talk about it yesterday. Any coach would have. In the wash up I think Flanno made misjudgements this year but this wasn’t really one of them. In the end I expect him to learn from some of the stuff that didn’t work out this year and keep the club going strong.

            • Roar Rookie

              September 11th 2017 @ 12:00pm
              Matthew Pearce said | September 11th 2017 @ 12:00pm | ! Report

              You must’ve been watching some different press conferences, Flanagan absolutely talked about refs this year.

              Coaches have no right to talk about refs in that manner – they’re not coaching the officials, they’re coaching the players. Talk about your players’ performances first.

              Sharks have looked up and down this year but they still finished fairly strongly – just couldn’t convert it when it mattered. The young fellas like Brailey will learn a lot from what went right and wrong this season.

              • September 11th 2017 @ 2:46pm
                JVGO said | September 11th 2017 @ 2:46pm | ! Report

                I watched every press conference. He was asked questions about refs, of course he was and answered them but he never blamed the refs for a loss. The only exception I can think of was the penalty against the Roosters which was the major talking point of that game and which cost us a place in the top four and which he said he didn’t think was a penalty because Cordner planted the ball. Actually Gallen talked mostly about that because he was the culprit. Through all the bullshit that Maloney put up with throughout the year from the refs in which about 50% of the calls against Jimmy were ridiculously harsh Flanno kept talking about discipline. I mean Maloney is now the most penalised player of all time? Seriously? Has he ever broken anyone’s jaw and or ended someone’s career or even seriously injured someone. Thisis a two time premiership winner and NSW 5/8 and the whole fiasco has eroded Maloney’s confidence to the point where he clocked out weeks ago. That Flanno finally went into bat for him about a bullshit call was I think probably too little too late honestly. People who want to come in on the back of a tough loss and bag the coach, the captain, the whole culture of another club need to get a life and need more than a bunch of cliches gleaned from Gus and Murdoch press to do it with.

          • September 11th 2017 @ 12:36pm
            Lovey said | September 11th 2017 @ 12:36pm | ! Report

            And to read off a list of grievances he was compiling from the start of the game indicates his mindset. Should have stuck to coaching.

            • September 11th 2017 @ 2:34pm
              matth said | September 11th 2017 @ 2:34pm | ! Report

              I can imagine at half time Flanno saying “talk amongst yourselves boys, I’m compiling a list”.

        • September 11th 2017 @ 10:35pm
          Pedro the Maroon said | September 11th 2017 @ 10:35pm | ! Report

          It’s very hard not to hate Gallen. Did you see how late he charged at Morgan when he slotted that field goal? Morgan to his credit shrugged it off.
          The fish rots from the head down – Flanagan, Gallen and other big sook Fifita (the new Willie mason IMO) set a bad example to the younger players.

      • September 11th 2017 @ 10:33am
        Big Will TBU said | September 11th 2017 @ 10:33am | ! Report

        I didn’t see Flanagans press conference, but I’m surprised more hasn’t been made of Barretts reaction after their controversial loss. No doubt he, and the team, were hurting bad but he sounded like a real sore loser and he gave the Panthers no credit.

        • Roar Rookie

          September 11th 2017 @ 10:42am
          Matthew Pearce said | September 11th 2017 @ 10:42am | ! Report

          I’m guessing it’s mostly because it’s been overshadowed by this game. The Sharks losing, especially in the manner they did, seems to be more significant than Manly v Penrith. Personally I thought that Manly’s gripes were somewhat more justified, but at the end of the day they’re both deflecting.

          From what I saw there was a fair bit made of it initially though, and if it wasn’t for Flanagan’s whinge we’d be talking about nothing but Barrett and Manly.

    • September 11th 2017 @ 8:55am
      Paddy said | September 11th 2017 @ 8:55am | ! Report

      Before I get sour grapes accusations let me say cronulla were poor yesterday.
      However that was, in all honesty the worst display of refereeing I have ever seen yesterday. It went both ways though, but the critical calls all went against the sharks. If the strip from Prior was a penalty (it wasn’t) then Gallen should have received a penalty at the other end. Similarly Lewis had the ball blatantly knocked out of his grasp in a two man tackle but it was called a loose carry. Brailey went to tackle Morgan after a kick and was ruled to have played at the ball. That’s just the beginning of the bad calls. Ashley Klein should not ref another first grade game after that shambles. Finally taumalolos try: the bloke in the bunker says ‘we can see the ball on the grass in this shot’ – you couldn’t. There was a cronulla arm under the ball and the man in the bunker straight up lied.

      • September 11th 2017 @ 9:05am
        KingCowboy said | September 11th 2017 @ 9:05am | ! Report

        You whiny little post loses all credibility when you wrote that ALL the crucial calls when against the Sharks. The first Sharks was a massive call and went to the Sharks. Wake up to yourself because you have no idea what you are talking about!

        • Roar Rookie

          September 11th 2017 @ 10:00am
          Dogs Boddy said | September 11th 2017 @ 10:00am | ! Report

          Big calls went both ways. That first try could have been given as a drop out and I would have been ok with that. JT’s try could have gone either way as well and I was quite surprised the ref gave an onfield call of try when there were so many hands in there. He was on the spot though so you have to assume he saw something we didn’t. I was surprised when it was upheld, but not outraged.

          We milked penalties, the Cowboys milked penalties, everyone milks penalties and gets away with what they can. What cost us the game was a lot of penalties and errors at crucial times. So many little points in the game could have resulted in a different outcome. Jack Bird takes that intercept, Valentine doesn’t drop the ball, Gallen goes 3″ further etc. I’m sure the Cowboys fans would see the same for their team.

          I’m a diehard Cronulla fan and am as disappointed as anyone else that we are done for the year. I don’t think we need to start slinging insults at each other over it though, it’s only a game. Flanno was rightly disappointed and with a bit of time might realise he wasn’t showing himself in the best light with that press conference. But he feels the loss as hard as the players do, and needed to vent.

          He’s not the first coach to do so, and won’t be the last.

          • September 11th 2017 @ 3:12pm
            JVGO said | September 11th 2017 @ 3:12pm | ! Report

            He was saying what the players needed him to say. He said outright that Luke Lewis in the sheds was outraged and Jimmy has put up with farcical treatment from the refs all year let alone the sin bin yesterday. There was no reason to be diplomatic, absolutely none. The refs were atrocious yesterday and poor all year.

            • Roar Rookie

              September 11th 2017 @ 8:38pm
              Bunney said | September 11th 2017 @ 8:38pm | ! Report

              The only farcical treatment Maloney gets is deliberately giving away more penalties than EVERYONE else in the NRL, but only getting sin-binned yesterday for the first time in 5 years.

              His action probably demand that he be binned about 5 times per year…

              Open your other eye

              • September 11th 2017 @ 10:54pm
                JVGO said | September 11th 2017 @ 10:54pm | ! Report

                50% of the penalties against Jimmy are ridiculously harsh. The other 50%…. well yeah they are deserved.

            • September 12th 2017 @ 12:53am
              The other other other JT said | September 12th 2017 @ 12:53am | ! Report

              Isn’t this Jimmy Maloney the same bloke that will throw a fella’s boot over the sideline if he gets the chance?

      • September 11th 2017 @ 2:07pm
        Captains call please said | September 11th 2017 @ 2:07pm | ! Report

        Lewis having the ball King-hit by jt was unbelievable , I’m still shaking my head at that , Gallen ruled to have dropped the ball umm usually the ref penalises the tackler for hands on the ball, not releasing , interfering with the ball ,a captains call would of seen that play go to the bunker and have the correct decision given if such a thing existed and sharks would have lined up a shot at goal for the win , not a sharks fan here but agree with other posts on here that Holmes is no Barba , don’t have a problem with shark fans feeling gutted

    • September 11th 2017 @ 9:14am
      JVGO said | September 11th 2017 @ 9:14am | ! Report

      Last year for one year I suddenly realised ‘Hey we are that team’ know the one that everything goes right for, who get all the crucial calls, pull off the miracles…like Melbourne or Brisbane or Qld or something. So this is how it feels I said to myself. Some teams get this almost every year. But also I told myself you’d better enjoy this while it lasts. Yesterday was a clear message from the NRL that ‘Hey you aren’t that team anymore’. But we didn’t really deserve to be that this year, we didn’t really earn it.

      Also last year I thought we were a massive shot at winning it but it wasn’t absolutely crucial because I thought the way the club was going they would win 2 premierships in the next ten. Flanno now needs to start building the next premiership team and forget about the defending the last one. It was always a pipe dream rewarding the old guys with another shot and things don’t work that way.

      Flanno should have given Bird more responsibility so he didn’t leave, and solidified some young blood in Holmes, Brailey, Capewell, Ramien and at least another good young bench prop, probably Dillon. He needs to get over the farcical stitch up that happened yesterday and do this stuff now.

      • September 11th 2017 @ 9:22am
        Paddy said | September 11th 2017 @ 9:22am | ! Report

        Well said.

      • September 11th 2017 @ 9:25am
        KingCowboy said | September 11th 2017 @ 9:25am | ! Report

        What are you talking about? So the only reason the Sharks won last year was because there was a CLEAR message from the NRL for them to do so? It had nothing to do with them being the best team? Some people are just lose causes!

        • September 11th 2017 @ 9:28am
          Paddy said | September 11th 2017 @ 9:28am | ! Report

          Mate, very rich from a Cowboys fan. You blokes moaned every year about conspiracy until the NRL just gave up and handed you a premiership.

          • September 11th 2017 @ 9:32am
            KingCowboy said | September 11th 2017 @ 9:32am | ! Report

            I agree bout the moaning part. It was disgraceful from the club. It isn’t good enough and shouldn’t be tolerated.

            The cowboys weren’t handed anything, we earned it. You seriously need to grow up and stop complaining about this. Your team lost yesterday. They deserved to lose and we deserved to win. Accept it like an adult and move on!

            • September 11th 2017 @ 9:37am
              Paddy said | September 11th 2017 @ 9:37am | ! Report

              I’ll agree with you on the Sharks playing poorly. Personally I feel the refs influenced that result, I’m not changing my mind on that. Hopefully you can at least agree that Ashley Klein shouldn’t ref another game this year.

              • September 11th 2017 @ 9:46am
                KingCowboy said | September 11th 2017 @ 9:46am | ! Report

                Not trying to pick a fight but I could care less who Refs our game. We (the Cows) need to own the result. We need to go out there and give it our all like we have all year. Hopefully that is enough, if it isn’t, I will tip my hat to the Eels and say well played!

              • September 11th 2017 @ 9:58am
                JVGO said | September 11th 2017 @ 9:58am | ! Report

                King Cowboy. You have zero chance next week. It was clear from the first non forward forward pass yesterday that the NRL want Parra to pack out ANZ the next two weeks, at least, possibly three. Nothing will go your way next week, definitely not to the extent it did yesterday. And I knew Cronulla wouldn’t have won next week either. I doubt you will score a try.

              • September 11th 2017 @ 10:10am
                Andrew said | September 11th 2017 @ 10:10am | ! Report

                JVGO – why would the NRL want the Cowboys playing the Eels at ANZ and not the Sharks v the Eels at ANZ?? – The second option would have had double the crowd size and been a way better advertisement. Even if your theory is they want the Eels to win, they would send the Sharks to ANZ, get the crowd and atmosphere and then conspire to let the Eels win…

              • September 11th 2017 @ 10:29am
                JVGO said | September 11th 2017 @ 10:29am | ! Report

                The NRL probably didn’t want us to lose but we defied their expectations of how badly we could go. In the end they probably just wanted a decent game close game, which they certainly got. But they didn’t want us cruising through either. We were no chance next week either with the way we were playing or with Parra being the feel good story this year. Sharks were zero chance of beating Melbourne this year anyway. Parra and Roosters will be a deserved blockbuster.

            • September 11th 2017 @ 9:49am
              JVGO said | September 11th 2017 @ 9:49am | ! Report

              I know what I saw last year. Cronulla were the best team all last year clearly and earned everything they got but we had a ton of things go our way that wouldn’t happen before and didn’t happen this year either, particularly at home. The treatment of Maloney has at times been farcical this year honestly. The biggest penalty magnet in the history of the game ….really??? The guy has won two premierships and never hurt a fly with a dirty play. Yesterday was an embarrassment for both clubs I thought. Hopefully the NRL has got that rubbish out of the way for this year and the teams themselves can decide the rest of the comp.

              • September 12th 2017 @ 1:38am
                doogs said | September 12th 2017 @ 1:38am | ! Report

                sorry buddy. there is a reason he gets penalised. You are clueless. Lie down and avoid cutlery

        • Roar Rookie

          September 11th 2017 @ 10:04am
          Dogs Boddy said | September 11th 2017 @ 10:04am | ! Report

          Not quite.

          I think he is saying more that the NRL “Gods” decided to benefit another team this year.

          It’s swings and roundabouts, not a conspiracy.

        • September 11th 2017 @ 1:55pm
          Rob said | September 11th 2017 @ 1:55pm | ! Report

          I believe JVGO is saying the Sharks were gift wrapped the 2016 Premiership. He’s just struggling to cope with losing legit like Flano is now.

          • Roar Rookie

            September 11th 2017 @ 2:56pm
            Dogs Boddy said | September 11th 2017 @ 2:56pm | ! Report

            Of course we were.

            Gift wrapped by God 😉

      • September 11th 2017 @ 11:03am
        Jimmmy said | September 11th 2017 @ 11:03am | ! Report

        ‘ it was clear from the first non- forward pass yesterday that the NRL want Parramatta to pack out ANZ on the next two weekends. ‘. Most people on here tell me the NRL couldnt organise a grog up in a brewery.
        Now you’re tellling me they can get the fix into half a dozen referees and linesmen . Either they are completely incompetent or criminal masterminds . Which one.?
        Seriously this stuff is ???? I don’t have a word. Last year they wanted Cronulla to win. Before that the Cows.
        They wanted Parra to go on but made them lose on Saturday so they would play in Sydney. They want the Storm because it’s Melbourne , they want the QLD teams as well. They are brilliant. They should be running the country.
        We really do need a four team grand final though . Maybe next year.

        • September 11th 2017 @ 11:35am
          JVGO said | September 11th 2017 @ 11:35am | ! Report

          Do you know how the world works? Do you think Donald Trump is president because it’s all fair and square and he is the best bloke for the job. Humans are susceptible to everything around them in numerous complicated ways and the people at the top are generally the ones who know this and are able to manipulate it the best. Go ask Rupert Murdoch how he does it. You know he is the guy who used to own the whole sport for a while, kicked Souths out of the comp and all that stuff. Thinking the world runs on such things as sportsmanship and good intentions is totally naive.

          • September 11th 2017 @ 12:31pm
            Oingo Boingo said | September 11th 2017 @ 12:31pm | ! Report

            Using Trump as an example really contradicts your argument mate .
            His opponent was the establishment elitist and underestimated the power of the people .
            They in fact failed in their attempts to manipulate the vote .

            • September 11th 2017 @ 3:16pm
              JVGO said | September 11th 2017 @ 3:16pm | ! Report

              So you fell for that one? Good thinking Oingo.

          • September 11th 2017 @ 4:06pm
            matth said | September 11th 2017 @ 4:06pm | ! Report

            Watch out, the alien overlords accompanied by their illuminati partners are coming to get you. Get under the bed!

            • September 11th 2017 @ 4:15pm
              JVGO said | September 11th 2017 @ 4:15pm | ! Report

              If they don’t get you Rupert will.

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