BY CURTIS WOODWARD AND RICHARD HOGAN
Cronulla Sharks Coach Shane Flanagan couldn’t believe how poor his team was in their heavy defeat to Manly on Sunday highlighting a terrible opening passage from the Premiers.
“The first 20 minutes was awful,” Flanagan said.
“They (Manly) played really well and they deserved to win.
“But our first 20 minutes is something I haven’t seen from this group.
“I think we had five play-the- balls after the 20 minutes and it was all because of what we did.
“We just dropped it.
“It was inexcusable.
“It was 18-0 and it was all over basically.
“We fought our way back and it was probably a bit of false hope for a while and then they kicked clear and they deserved to win.”
It was a forgettable afternoon for the Sharks and in particular New South Wales State of Origin star James Maloney who put in arguably his worst performance since joining the club.
Cronulla’s 35-18 defeat was compounded by the injury of young rake Jayden Brailey with a broken job.
Flanagan now has a short-term headache with James Segeyaro still at least a week away from returning from a broken arm while third string hooker Daniel Mortimer has left to join Leigh in England after starting from the bench against the Sea Eagles.
“We are just going to have to do our best over the next couple of weeks,’ said the coach.
“We will battle on.
“We have a plan.
“We will be okay.”
Cronulla’s next assignment is the high-flying Sydney Roosters in Gosford.
The Roosters escaped with a golden point win against the Melbourne Storm in Adelaide on Saturday night and should have Blues skipper Boyd Cordner back for the clash after missing the game in South Australia due to a calf strain.