Bunker finds much-needed ally in Flanagan
As Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan prepares for a rematch against Brisbane after losing to them after a contentious try from a forward pass in their last encounter, he has reaffirmed his faith in the NRL Bunker.
Referees and the Bunker have come under heavy fire in the last week after a series of incidents involving controversial calls with Flanagan's Sharks benefitting from two of the glaring errors - Sione Katoa's try against Canberra and the Raiders being denied a four-pointer for a forward pass ruling which the refs later admitted was incorrect.
Flanagan said the referees already had a tough enough job and applauded their transparency in admitting mistakes in recent times.
"I think that department is doing its best," Flanagan said as he completed preparations for Thursday night's clash at Suncorp Stadium against the Broncos.
"They haven't got it right and they put their hand up, let's just hope we work really hard as a code to get it right for when the big games come around.
"There have been a couple of decisions that went against us but we need to be good enough to get the win considering the decisions and take the referees out of it.
"I heard some chat around getting rid of the Bunker but it wasn't that long ago we were saying we need technology, we have it why don't we use it - now we're using it and we want to get rid of it."
The Broncos who are two competition points behind the Sharks and full of confidence after last Friday's 50-18 win over the Panthers.
Sharks fullback Josh Dugan was expected to return a couple of weeks ago but despite being rested for another week, Flanagan said he was all but ready to play.
"If it wasn't a Thursday and it was a Saturday or Sunday game then he might have been a little bit more of a chance to play but without any hiccups, he will be right for next week," Flanagan said.
"As for the Broncos, right across the park they have some powerful explosive forwards so we need to be good with those type of players then you throw [Kodi] Nikorima and [Anthony] Milford on the back of that and it's dangerous."
In terms of whether or not the Sharks will see another year with Paul Gallen at the club, Flanagan said the co-captain would not make a decision until the of the year.
"I don't really know what he's doing but at the moment he's enjoying his football and probably leaning on the side of playing again," Flanagan said.
"But he said to me that if he did want to play and if there's someone better than him then he's quite happy to stand down and move on. We will see how he feels at the end of the year.
"If he's playing like he is at the moment he can play on but he needs to want to be able to train and do the stuff during the week.
"The game part of it he's doing fine, his numbers are great but it is a bit of an ask to do another pre-season - four months of slog."