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Roosters half Kyle Flanagan.

Shane Flanagan concedes he "wasn't happy" when son Kyle was dropped by his long-time coaching rival Trent Robinson, only for the ex-Sharks father-son combo to resolve it was exactly why he is now playing in red, white and blue.

Flanagan jnr will face off against Cronulla, and colours he first wore as a 13-year-old, on Saturday night.

Flanagan snr will be watching from the family lounge room given COVID protocols prevent the current Dragons assistant attending rival games.

Kyle was handed his NRL debut in one of his old man's last games as coach of Cronulla, but it was Robinson who handed the play-making prodigy his first senior wake-up call six weeks ago.

While Flanagan was topping the NRL's point-scoring ladder and the injury-hit Roosters were still humming along in fourth place, a few missed tackles and questionable options as his side scraped past the Titans saw Robinson drop the hammer.   

Flanagan was axed from the No.7 role he had been specifically signed to fill as Cooper Crook's successor, Robinson even clarifying that "I never said rested" as plenty had assumed at the time.

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"Kyle definitely wasn't happy. He was really upset about it," Shane Flanagan tells ahead of his son's square-off with the Sharks.

"From my point of view, we weren't happy with it either.

"But he bit down hard and just got on with it. He knew that when he came back he needed to do some new things, freshen up or whatever it may be.

"And I think he's got the determination and hunger now to be thinking 'don't ever let that happen again'.

"With his demotion, I wanted him to go to the Roosters, I wanted him to be in a good team and get good coaching.

"So there was no use me whingeing and carrying on when Robbo made his change because that's why I sent him there. To be in a team where they expect success, and to play well."

For a player to be upset when dropped from first grade is nothing new. You'd be worried if it was.

For that player's father to be a premiership-winning coach with almost a decade's experience at NRL level is.

Flanagan snr admits he has found it hard to "take a backseat" to Robinson and the Roosters' plans for his son.

But the faith from all parties has been repaid in the month since Kyle returned to the No.7 jumper.

First alongside Drew Hutchison as they steered a rag-tag Tricolours side around against the Tigers, and then Brisbane.

Then as the dominant half when Luke Keary gingerly returned from a rib injury against Canberra, and then sharing the lead last week in the carve-up of Newcastle.

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"Those three different roles over three different weeks, that's a great learning experience and it really requires him to understand his role in different situations and within the team," Shane Flanagan says.

"The lessons he learnt out of the side, that was more between Robbo and Kyle, I leave those conversations between those two.

"That's definitely hard for me being a coach. It's natural to want to get involved."

Flanagan confirms he called Robinson after Kyle's demotion in round 12.

"I have regularly conversations with Robbo about how he's going, it's not uncommon for us to talk about how Kyle's going.

"So there was a chat but it wasn't 'why isn't Kyle playing?' It was 'is he going OK?'.

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"But I've had to take a back seat and let him get on with it. Robbo's his coach and that's why I sent him there. I had to trust him.

"I'm not there everyday, I don't see what's going on, so we trust him.

"I trust Kyle's development under him and it's a big job in that team, going into a star-studded team replacing Cooper as the halfback. I think he's handled it really well.

"Hopefully it'll all end with a grand final. And when the bubble breaks and I can attend games again, I'll be first through the gates."

First though to Saturday night at the SCG for Kyle, and prime position on the lounge for Shane.

Flanagan jnr faces his old Sharks teammates for the first time as the Roosters cruise towards the finals with apparent Usain Bolt-esque ease.

Cronulla have been more Eric the Eel as Shaun Johnson's superb form, and whether he is in or out of the side, seems to dictate whether they're some hope or none at all.

It was Flanagan snr that signed Johnson from the Warriors in late 2018 when he suddenly entered the market.

And after the Sharks' only title-winning coach was banned one month later for breaching the conditions of his 2014 peptides-related suspension, it was John Morris left working out how to fit Johnson, Flanagan jnr and Chad Townsend into the one line-up.

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"To be honest I would've liked him to stay at the Sharks if he was the No.1 halfback but he wasn't at that stage," Flanagan said.

"He was in and out for Shaun and Chad. He wasn't playing regular first grade and I thought he was ready to play regular first grade so we needed to look elsewhere.

"The Roosters came knocking and it was a great opportunity and we couldn't knock it back.

"Kyle was so excited about working with Cooper and going to the Roosters.

"It was more excitement from him than any trepidation. It's a challenge certainly, but Kyle's reaction was 'wow, this is a massive opportunity, let's take it'."

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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