Sharks play Russian roulette with Gallen - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Sharks play Russian roulette with Gallen

David Beniuk 03/08/2011 08:25:59 PM Comments (0)

Cronulla could risk losing captain Paul Gallen for the rest of the season in a desperate attempt to keep their faint NRL finals hopes alive.

Gallen has missed the Sharks' past two games with a calf injury suffered in the round 19 loss to St George Illawarra.

Cronulla sit in 12th place on 18 points and need to win all five of their remaining games, starting with Saturday's Toyota Stadium clash with Gold Coast, and hope they can scrape into the play-offs.

Coach Shane Flanagan says he might have to risk inspirational skipper Gallen to keep his side's hopes flickering.

"That's a tough one but it's getting towards that stage that we've got to risk a few things," he told reporters on Wednesday.

"I didn't want to risk him last week (in the loss to Brisbane) but we need to start taking some risks and that's one we might have to take."

Flanagan said that could mean putting the NSW captain's season on the line.

"That's the risk you take," Flanagan said.

"If he tears his calf again he could be gone for three or four weeks which probably means the season, so that's what we've got to toss up.

"I'll be guided by the medical staff a bit there but we'll see how we go."

Gallen declared he was in desperate need of a rest after the Sharks' round 18 win over Canberra.

His incredible 80-minute efforts at prop for the Blues in the State of Origin series had clearly taken their toll and a week later he was forced off WIN Jubilee Oval with the calf problem.

Flanagan said the injury was taking longer than expected to heal.

"I thought he'd be 100 per cent (this week), he was close last Friday night but it's really slow and I'm not that confident anymore," Flanagan said.

"He'll train on Friday and if he comes up 100 per cent he'll play, but he's not sending out any great signals at the moment."

The Sharks also have concerns over niggles to backs John Williams and Matthew Wright.

After a mid-season rally of four straight wins, Cronulla have lost their past three games, the latest a 46-16 smashing by Brisbane.

But, despite facing a virtually impossible task to make the top eight, they have not given up on playing finals football.

"We've won four in a row (this season) and there's five games left and we're confident that we can win all of our games," Flanagan said.

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