Rival coaches' mixed views on Stuart's comments
Sharks coach Shane Flanagan has brushed off comments from Raiders mentor Ricky Stuart that his side played outside the rules when the teams met in week one of the finals.
Speaking to media at Canberra airport on Wednesday, Stuart accused Cronulla of being offside, jumping early at the play-the-ball, and wrestling to slow down the ruck en route to a 16-14 win in the nation's capital.
But according to Flanagan, the comments were nothing more than an attempt to influence the referees leading into Canberra's preliminary final against the Storm on Saturday night.
"I laughed my head off when I heard it," a relaxed Flanagan said ahead of Cronulla's captain's run on Thursday morning.
"That was two weeks ago. He said he wasn't going to talk about wrestle after going into the Melbourne game, but he's doing a fair job. It's all about him trying to do the best for his team, and good luck to him.
"To come out now and talk about our wrestle… we didn't wrestle. I think he's called it 'scrap on the ground' or something. It's all banter and it's a coach's tactic, and if that's what he wants to do then good luck to him."
While Flanagan laughed off his Canberra counterpart's comments, Cowboys coach Paul Green said there was some merit in what Stuart had said.
Green revealed he had spoken to referees boss Tony Archer in the wake of his side's 13-10 loss at Southern Cross Group Stadium in Round 14 about the interpretation of the offside rule, but said he hadn't approached him for clarification leading into Friday's grand final qualifier.
"I think in the game we played them down there, there were only three points in it, and gee they were pretty quick out of the blocks that night," he said.
"Following that game I spoke to the referees about the 10 metres in particular at different parts of the field.
"I spoke to him (Archer) previously after our last Cronulla game and we had a discussion about that; the 10 metres in particular.
"We felt that the refs should have been a bit stronger on the 10 there so I'm just hoping that they police that properly again because what I think it will give us is a good open game of footy that everyone's going to enjoy."
Following his side's enthralling extra-time win last week, Green said he wanted to see all matches officiated in a way that encouraged an expansive style of footy.
"I think we had two examples of that last weekend and I think everyone would like to see another entertaining game [on Friday]. If they can keep both teams back 10 metres then it allows everyone to play a bit of footy," he said.
"I think the refs did a great job last week and that contributed to the styles of game in both games. I'm not asking them to do anything outside of the norm, they've just got to ref the rules as they are."
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