Sharks can't replicate 2016 premiership-winning side: Flanagan
Coach Shane Flanagan has no doubt the Sharks can go all the way but knows this year it's a completely different side to 2016 and there are no intentions to replicate the past.
The Sharks' five-game winning streak is building similar expectations as to when they went on a run winning 15 consecutive games in 2016, but Flanagan says this year the side are on their own journey and he won't be making the same mistake as he did last year.
"I think that was a big error on my part, especially last year referring back to 2016," he said.
"We were never ever going to do it again, that was the first competition the club has ever won and we should have just knocked it on the head.
"We've addressed that this year and we're really enjoying our 2018 journey and the team of 2018 which is completely different.
"Can we win the comp again? Of course we can but we can't replicate 2016."
Flanagan shut down discussion of Paul Gallen's and Luke Lewis's futures but did say the club was hopeful of re-signing second rower Jayson Bukuya in the coming weeks.
"Jayson Bukuya we're trying to resign at the moment so hopefully that gets done in the next week or two," he said.
"Gal and Luke, we'll just let that unfold and I don't want to put any pressure on them. Obviously if they knew exactly what they wanted to do they'd come out and announce whether they are playing on or going to retire, and I don't need to know."
The Sharks head up to Newcastle to face one of the most talked-about youngsters that has emerged in the 2018 season in Knights fullback Kalyn Ponga.
Flanagan said after doing video this week, stopping Ponga will be a priority for the Sharks. Flanagan is adamant if the team doesn't go up to Newcastle with the right attitude then their winning streak will be over.
"I heard all the noise about him but I didn't concentrate on too many Newcastle games, but doing all our preview this week he's a fantastic player," Flanagan said of Ponga.
"Some of the stuff that he's done has been amazing. I think he's had a hand in 25 tries and scored some himself.
"He's a super talent and a real key part for the Newcastle side, so we are going to have to be really switched on around him in so many different areas; his kick returns, when he gets down on his try-line he's a dangerous footy player so we need to be at our best definitely against him.
"[Newcastle] started the season really well and then sort of haven't had success over the last month but they're a really good footy team and if we don't go up there with the right attitude it will all come to an end."