Sharks can't lick wounds: Flanagan
After losing the chance to finish fourth on the NRL Telstra Premiership ladder after going down to the Sea Eagles 14-12 on Sunday, Cronulla Sharks coach Shane Flanagan said it's now of a matter of moving onward to the NRL Finals.
Confirmed as coming sixth on the table after Melbourne and Canterbury's respective wins over Brisbane and the Warriors in Round 26, the Sharks will now face reigning premiers South Sydney at Allianz Stadium on Sunday.
"I'm disappointed, the players are disappointed. We had an opportunity there to get top four and we haven't got it," Flanagan said post-game.
"We can't lick our wounds on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday when we have a big semi-final next week.
"There are eight teams out there who would give anything to be in my position, so it can't be changed and we need to move on very quickly."
In a game where the Sharks were correctly denied tries on five occasions by the video referees, Cronulla captain Paul Gallen said they just needed a little bit more luck to secure a second bite of the finals cherry.
Looking back on Michael Gordon's conversion which came off the uprights following Gerard Beale's second half try, and before that Gordon and Gallen's collision when they both attempted to score from a Manly loose ball, the Sharks skipper simply put it down to his side letting themselves down.
"We had enough opportunities to win the game and we didn't get it done. It's just one of those things where we are disappointed but it's on next week thankfully for us," Gallen said.
"We seem to work better when our backs are against the wall and in those must-win situations."
Of the game, Flanagan said the Sea Eagles ability to frustrate the Sharks in the first half –where they slowed the ruck down and started melees – worked in Manly's favour.
"They came here with some tactics, particularly in the first half, which put us off our game. They aren't a rubbish team, they're only two points out of the eight, and we played with respect," Flanagan said.
"We just need to move on, I'm not happy about it but we can't dwell on it. We're in the top eight and we have a big game next week."
Flanagan was hopeful that prop Andrew Fifita's calf injury won't keep him out of training and playing the Rabbitohs, with his six-week suspension now complete.
"The medical report says he'll be okay. He tore a muscle in his calf that only 15 per cent of the population have – one of those cave man muscles some of us have in the back of the calves," Flanagan said.
"You don't need it and you can get by without it so hopefully he'll be right. He's in a boot but he should be out of it by Monday to start running."