Flanagan says Origin means wins for Sharks - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Flanagan says Origin means wins for Sharks

Ben Horne 29/03/2011 07:31:45 PM Comments (0)

Although it will decimate his forward pack, Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan says he hopes to lose four of his NRL stars to the NSW Origin team this season.

Flanagan realises that if he has a handful of players representing, there's a fair chance his team will be fairly well-placed at the midway point of the season.

Lock Paul Gallen is a certainty and the frontrunner to captain the Blues, while prop Kade Snowden will also get picked.

However the Sharks' NSW presence may not end there.

Cronulla's strong start to the season has brought workhorse front rower Luke Douglas into genuine contention, and it's not out of the question the Origin hopes of Anthony Tupou could be rekindled after some tremendous early form.

The Sharks' two wins from three matches has been built on their exceptional forward pack, but Flanagan said he'd happily give up his stars for a couple of weeks, for the sake of the greater good.

"I hope so, because if I've got four players in Origin we're up the top of the competition when that comes around," said Flanagan.

"If we've got four players in Origin we're up in the top four so I'll sacrifice missing four players for a week if we're up the top of the competition."

Flanagan said based on form, all four players deserved to be picked by their former coach Ricky Stuart to play in the sky blue.

"They've all got the ability to play Origin, Snowy obviously has, Toups has, and obviously Gal would be there somewhere. Luke Douglas has had a great start to the season and hasn't missed a game for ages," he said.

"Everything is good at the moment for us, it's a happy camp and that's what happens when you win games. But it's really early days and I've just got to keep our heads around (the fact) that things can turn quickly."

Tupou hasn't played Origin or Test football since 2008, but has returned to his best to start this season.

Stuart is known to be a fan of the talented former Rooster and Flanagan said Tupou had a resolve to return to the rep arena.

"Toups, he's had a couple of lean years ... but he's had a really good off-season, he's put on about 3kg of muscle so he's feeling confident within himself," he said.

"I think he gets confidence with Gal and Jeremy (Smith) in the team so he's started off the season really well.

"Toups has some ambitions to play rep football again and if he keeps going the way he has the first couple of rounds I'm sure they'll look at him because he does have some ability."

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