Flanagan's 'white lies' fire up Sharks
Cronulla Sharks coach Shane Flanagan has sheepishly confessed to telling his troops white lies to help fire them up to a Round 4 win over the Parramatta Eels.
As an amusing post-match press conference unfolded, Sharks captain Paul Gallen appeared to learn on the fly that a lie he already knew about had been followed up by another he hadn't yet discovered.
It started when Gallen mentioned that he knew the Eels pack would be particularly fired up for the meeting against Cronulla.
"They were pretty pumped before the game and had a bit of pressure put on their forwards to bash us up and they did that, but I said to the boys 'cop your medicine, they'll hit you hard a couple of times but if you just keep banging down the door it will eventually open' and that's what we did," Gallen said.
When Gallen was then asked how he knew what the message to the Eels forwards was, his coach came clean.
"I made that up!" Flanagan laughed.
"I always make some stuff up about their forward pack are going to challenge ours, heard some whispers in the hallways, I got 'Blocker' [former Balmain hard-man turned Fox League commentator Steve Roach] to chat to me on the sideline... just a bit of a white lie there."
It then emerged Gallen had already caught Flanagan in another fib earlier in the week.
"He did it at the start of the week as well, got stuck into us about something and it didn't register with me real well. I actually went and had a meeting with him about it during the week and said 'mate what are you talking about with this thing' and he said 'mate I made it up'," Gallen said, prompting further explanation from his coach.
"It was about stats," Flanagan explained.
"I said only two or three of our players are near their stats from last year. I had no idea what the stats were, I made it up."
Gallen interrupted: "He said tackle breaks and running hard, no-one's making as many metres and no-one's breaking tackles. I wasn't even playing this time last year!"
Added Flanagan: "I got them during the week and threw out a couple of stats that they weren't running as hard and weren't breaking as many tackles.
"I didn't research it, I just made it up at the time and Gal caught me out and came and had a meeting after training and said 'where are these stats' and I said 'there's no stats, I just made it up'."
Gallen said despite some deception in the delivery the message still rang true and it paid off on the night.
"He just challenged us to play better than them, it's pretty simple," he said.
"No different to any other game to be honest. That's a strength of the Eels, their forward pack, their coach has got the attitude that he likes to play tough and simple footy and through the middle and I think they showed that early or most of the first half, they ripped into us and I thought a couple of times we were guilty of trying to go around them."