Sharks captain livid at McIntyre system - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Sharks captain livid at McIntyre system

By Darren Walton 14/09/2008 11:56:53 AM Comments (0)

Cronulla captain Paul Gallen is filthy after being told the high-flying Sharks must play their opponents on enemy territory next week if Sunday's fourth and last NRL qualifying final goes to form.

Despite finishing equal first in the minor premiership and then trouncing Canberra 36-10 in their qualifying final on Saturday night, the Sharks face the prospect of being seriously disadvantaged in the second round of playoffs under the controversial McIntyre system.

Should minor premiers Melbourne account for the New Zealand Warriors at Olympic Park on Sunday afternoon, Cronulla would have to play the Sydney Roosters in next week's sudden-death semi-finals - and Gallen is of the belief such an encounter would be staged at the SFS.

"That's what I was told last night as I was going home," Gallen told 2KY radio on Sunday.

"I was told we will have to play the Sydney Roosters next Friday night at the (Sydney) Football Stadium.

"I don't think that's right at all. Brisbane finished fifth and they get to go and play at (home at) Suncorp Stadium. Go figure that out."

In fact, had the sixth-placed Raiders beaten the third-placed Sharks last night, they too would have clinched a home final in Canberra next week.

And should the eighth-placed Warriors upset the Storm, they would host the Roosters next Friday in New Zealand.

NRL rules, though, state that the winners of four qualifying finals will host the second-week semi-finals at "home city" venues - but not necessarily at individual clubs' home grounds.

Sydney's two designated venues are the SFS and ANZ Stadium and the league will decide after the Melbourne-Warriors match where next week's matches will be played.

NRL chief operating officer Graham Annesley was at Toyota Stadium last night and said should a Cronulla-Roosters final materialise, it would be contested at a venue which offered "the best fit".

Annesley said the Sharks would have no say in the matter.

Cronulla coach Ricky Stuart was clearly unimpressed with the prospect of the Roosters - who finished lower than the Sharks in fourth place in the minor premiership and then lost their opening final 24-16 to Brisbane on Friday night - could host his side in a knockout clash.

"Whose decision is it?" Stuart said before vowing to discuss the issue with Sharks chief executive Tony Zappia, who will undoubtedly pursue the matter with the NRL.

Should the Warriors upstage the Storm, the Sharks would have next week off and advance straight to a preliminary final - against either Brisbane or Melbourne, who would clash on Saturday night at Suncorp Stadium.

The vagaries of the McIntyre system dominated the lead-up to the opening weekend of finals, with fans flooding talkback radio with their concerns.

The issue continues to rage, with league legends Andrew Johns and Laurie Daley both raising doubts over the fairness of the format.

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