Sharks challenge to stop Maroon-like Storm - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Sharks challenge to stop Maroon-like Storm

Joe Barton 27/05/2011 03:36:44 PM Comments (0)

Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan has challenged his young NRL troops to step up to the task of taking down Melbourne's "State of Origin-like mentality".

Flanagan admitted Monday night's 40-6 thrashing at the hands of Parramatta was unacceptable and said Sunday's clash with the NRL heavyweights was a chance for his team to prove they were worthy of first grade spots.

And there is no better place to prove it than at AAMI Park, where the Storm have already built a formidable record in their first year at the ground.

The Storm will have three players backing up from Queensland's victory in the opening State of Origin clash on Wednesday, and Flanagan said the similarities between Melbourne's attitude and that of the Maroons were stark.

"It's a fair point, especially with Cameron Smith, Billy Slater, and Cooper Cronk too, they try and carry that (Origin mentality) into their preparation every week," Flanagan told AAP on Friday.

"It does show, yeah, it's very similar ... I think it's a real challenge for us, you're up against one of the best in the NRL.

"They won't change too much, they'll just keep doing it, doing it, doing it and (just like against Queensland) if you clock off and don't stay in the system or don't defend the way you should, they'll get you."

The rookie coach called on his injury-depleted squad to make up for their sub-par effort against the Eels by spoiling Melbourne skipper Cameron Smith's 200th first grade match.

"It's a real challenge for us and I see some of these players who need to stand up to the challenge," he added.

"For us to turn up and play like we did against Parramatta is not up to standard and it's not acceptable.

"If they're going to be first grade footballers they need to stand up on days like Sunday.

"We do see it as one of the toughest trips you'll do in a year.

"It's a real challenge for our players to see if they are genuine NRL quality players.

"I'm throwing the ball into their court now and asking them 'can you stand up to these players, and are you good enough'?"

Flanagan confirmed that the club's injured stars - including Jeremy Smith, Nathan Gardner and Albert Kelly - would be fit to return after the Sharks' bye in round 14.

"They'll definitely all be back for the Bulldogs game, and maybe one or two of them will be back for the Broncos (in round 13) ... it will be a huge boost for us," he added.

Cronulla's NSW players Paul Gallen and Kade Snowden are both expected to face the Storm despite pulling up sore after Origin.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2022 AAP

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