Weekend off stuns Sharks captain - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Weekend off stuns Sharks captain

By Darren Walton 14/09/2008 07:27:58 PM Comments (0)

Cronulla captain Paul Gallen was as stunned as anyone after the New Zealand Warriors' earth-moving victory over Melbourne vaulted the Sharks to within one win of the NRL grand final.

Gallen conceded he had no idea what coach Ricky Stuart had in store for the Sharks' unexpected weekend off.

Before the Warriors' shock win, Stuart said he would be happy for the Storm to win to enable the Sharks to maintain momentum after their 36-10 rout of Canberra on Saturday night.

"What can you say? I don't know. Who would have picked it?" Gallen told AAP.

"I've got no idea what we'll do. Ricky sent me a text and said he'd ring me soon, so I suppose we'll have to see what the plan is.

"But I don't know. I really don't know. I hadn't even thought about it. I don't know what to think about it at the moment."

Gallen said he could personally do with the rest and was unconcerned about the prospect of a two-week wait between games possibly proving detrimental to the Sharks, who have slipped beautifully into a finals mindset over the past month.

"It can't hurt. Manly and Melbourne had the week off last year and both made the grand final," Gallen said.

"I think in the past few seasons, the teams that have had the week off have usually made the grand final.

"So it's not too bad."

Cronulla was also unfazed at having to face the winners of Saturday night's blockbuster semi-final between Brisbane and Melbourne at Suncorp Stadium.

"Any of these top sides are going to be tough. Look at the Warriors, you wouldn't want to be playing them after they've beaten the Storm.

"You're going to have to beat everyone to get in there and win it anyway.

"Whoever we play, we play. I'm not too concerned about it at the moment."

The Sharks once again flexed their defensive muscles to dominate the Raiders in a seven-tries-to-two final drubbing at Toyota Park.

Coach Stuart, though, insists he can't see the parallels between the Sharks and his 2002 NRL premiership-winning Sydney Roosters, who were lauded for their relentless defensive patterns.

But, at the conclusion of the 2008 regular season, Stuart's Sharks were an 18-point better defensive side than the 2002 Roosters, averaging a miserly 16 points against per game.

Asked if he could see any parallels between the two sides as the Sharks closed in on a maiden title, Stuart was nonplussed.

"None whatsoever," he said. "And that's respectful. The game's changed. It's a completely different style of defence.

"The game changes all the time. It's a lot different to what the game was in 2002."

Stuart, who has been at pains all season not to talk up Cronulla's chances of breaking the 41-year premiership hoodoo in the Shire, also wouldn't be drawn on whether he was experiencing a similar mood this year to six seasons ago at the Roosters.

"We've got a strong inner sanctum and that's all we worry about," he said.

But he did say confidence was building.

"I was a bit concerned before the game. I just didn't know how the players were," he said.

"Sometimes you see an excited bunch, very loud. They were very composed, more so than an enthusiastic body language around the change rooms. They had a very confident feel about themselves.

"We're moving forward with some self belief."

Cronulla's week off will be a bonus for centre Ben Pomeroy, who suffered a cork against the Raiders.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2021 AAP

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