Flanagan fuming over Sharks' leaky defence
Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan was far from impressed with his team conceding five tries to a team battling to avoid the wooden spoon, labelling it acceptable.
In what was a back and forth battle at Southern Cross Group Stadium on Sunday afternoon, 14th-placed Manly capitalised on some ill-disciplined Sharks defence to come away with a 33-32 win in extra time.
In the previous round, Flanagan criticised the referees over some key decisions which he believed proved decisive in their two-point loss to Brisbane, but this time round he conceded the Sharks had no one to blame but themselves.
"We shouldn't have allowed them to score the 33 points," Flanagan said.
"We should have been better than that but good luck to them - they deserved to win.
"In theory you win your next four games you're a chance but if we play like that we're not going to win our next four games."
Cronulla captain Paul Gallen said Manly were always going to come out strong with a point to prove after their heart-breaking loss to Penrith on top of the fact they have representative stars Daly Cherry-Evans, Jake and Tom Trbojevic, and Marty Taupau in their line-up.
"They have a pretty good roster," Gallen said.
"There's no pressure on them and they have nothing to play for.
"But when there's no pressure on teams who have got good players they can pull things out and they can score tries as they did today.
- Players' Poll: Part 1 - Best coach, fullback, five-eighth, half, hooker
- Players' Poll: Part 2 - Best player, winger, centre, forwards
- Players' Poll: Part 3 - Rule changes, best young player, hardest to tackle, biggest hitter
- Players' Poll: Part 4 - Preferred clubs, timeslots, expansion, Nines
"We made it hard for ourselves but pressure in footy is an amazing thing and when there's none on a team anything can happen for them."
Gallen said it's now or never for the Sharks if they wish to see themselves in the finals arena.
"We need to start winning," Gallen said.
"If we want to crack the top four we need to string some games together and it's got to start now."