Sharks must learn from 2008 limp exit - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Sharks must learn from 2008 limp exit

By Todd Balym 27/09/2008 11:39:42 AM Comments (0)

Sharks skipper Paul Gallen says the players must use Cronulla's limp exit from the NRL finals as motivation to go at least one step further next year.

Cronulla produced their worst effort of 2008 in the 28-0 preliminary final loss to Melbourne at the Sydney Football Stadium on Friday night in the club's fourth failure on the penultimate weekend in 10 years.

With halfback Brett Kimmorley (Bulldogs), hooker Isaac De Gois (Newcastle) and prop Danny Nutley (retired) all leaving the club, Gallen said it was important the young players left at Cronulla learn from Friday night's pain and keep the strong bond which carried them throughout 2008.

"I think (the experience of 2008) will be great for them but the tough thing will be getting back here really," said Gallen.

"It's taken us six years to get here and that's the hardest thing. Yeah it's a good experience for us but we have to get back here.

"We didn't deserve to lose the way we did but in saying that we weren't good enough.

"We have to feel the pain we're going through now and when we come back next year don't come back and play the way we did (last night)."

Indeed it has been a dramatic year for the Sharks with season-ending injuries to young stars Reece Williams (knee in round two) and Brett Seymour (knee last week) plus the midseason retirement of veteran Lance Thompson.

Then of course there was the highly publicised suspension of Test star Greg Bird and the pending court case over an alleged glassing incident with his girlfriend.

But throughout it all the Sharks have remained resolute and committed to the team's cause.

Gallen praised the efforts of coach Ricky Stuart and assistant Shane Flanagan for keeping the team united through a troubled season.

"It's a testament to the boys the way we all bonded together and become best mates and a lot of that goes down to Ricky and Shane Flanagan," said Gallen.

"What they did for us this year was pretty amazing. Right from round three when Reece Willliams went down it was pretty scary really.

"We don't have any big name players really but the way they got us together after every single thing that happened just goes to show what good coaches they are really."

The signs for the future are good for the Sharks with former Test five-eighth Trent Barrett returning from Wigan to lead their attack, Australian and NSW backrower Anthony Tupou coming from the Roosters and veteran hooker Corey Hughes to add his experience from the Bulldogs.

The three are handy additions to a team low on star players but Gallen expects a few of the unheralded Sharks players to break into the representative arena in the near future.

"Douggie (prop Luke Douglas) will definitely be there in the future. He is only 22 now so he will be there in the future," said Gallen when asked of the representative aspirations of his teammates.

"Ben Pomeroy is probably one if a centre or two goes down.

"I think people might laugh at this but Isaac De Gois he can't be far off.

"I know he probably won't be (in the World Cup squad) but it won't surprise me if something happened to Cameron Smith and Robbie Farah.

"He is a great player. I'm really upset to be losing him next year (to Newcastle) but that's the way rugby league goes."

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