Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan is confident his team can turn around their late-season slide despite their winless NRL run now stretching to a worrying third week.
After storming to premiership favouritism off the back of their 15-game winning streak, the Sharks now haven’t won a game in almost a month after being stunned by St George Illawarra 32-18 on Saturday night.
In the past three rounds, Cronulla have tied with Gold Coast, lost to Canberra and then were overrun by a Dragons side that threw caution into the wind in an epic local derby at UOW Jubilee Oval.
And while they were without skipper Paul Gallen against the Dragons due to a calf strain, Flanagan refused to concede that it is time to hit the panic button.
“We’re not playing good footy at the moment but I’d put it down to the boys out at (State of) Origin, short turnarounds and we’re a bit busted at the moment,” he said.
“There’s a lot of stuff there that others don’t see. Gallen obviously pulled out in the warm up. It’s been a long season but now we have a nine-day turnaround and we’re really looking forward to that.”
Flanagan likened the form slump to the one that saw Brisbane lose seven games in nine weeks and slide from first to sixth on the competition table.
However, they’ve since turned it around with back-to-back wins.
“It’s similar to the Broncos. All teams go through it at different stages and we’re confident we can come out of it. We’ll turn it around for the semi finals,” Flanagan said.
“Some things just aren’t working for us like they were earlier on in the year but we’ll keep working hard. Good teams sometimes fall out of form but they’ll find it again.”
Gallen withdrew from the Dragons game after aggravating a calf problem he has managed all season, however Flanagan is confident he would have his star back against South Sydney next week.
“He’s had a history of them. He had one earlier in the year,” Flanagan said.
“He came into the sheds and was treated, and we probably could’ve pushed him out there.
“But we’re not going to push him at this stage of the year. He missed three weeks last time so it was a decision the medical staff made to pull him out.”