Sharks angry at illegal NRL tactic claims
Thu, 12 Jul 2012 3:02p.m.
Ill feeling between Cronulla and the Sydney Roosters over Jared Waerea-Hargreaves' controversial NRL hit on Ben Ross has boiled over, with the Sharks labelling claims they are coached to run illegally as ludicrous.
Waerea-Hargreaves' one-week suspension for a high tackle on Ross in their 14-14 draw on Monday night was upheld by the NRL judiciary on Wednesday night, despite a defence case from the Roosters based around the running style of Sharks players.
The Roosters claimed the Sharks are repeatedly running into opposition defences dangerously and illegally with their knees up and elbows out and Waerea-Hargreaves' hit was a result of attempts to counter the tactic.
But Sharks coach Shane Flanagan angrily disputed the claims.
"What a load of rubbish that is," Flanagan said at training on Thursday.
"That is one of the most ludicrous things I have heard for a while. But it doesn't surprise me coming from them. How would they know what we are doing at training?"
At the tribunal, the Roosters said a video study of the Sharks had led to a team tactic of tackling Sharks players around the upper body because their running style meant it was difficult and dangerous to tackle them around the midriff area.
Of attempting to tackle Ross around the torso, Roosters defensive coach Matthew Elliott said: "Bags not going in there - you'll get a bag full of elbows and knees."
Flanagan insisted his third-placed side are rugged on the field but always fair.
"We teach our players to run hard and gain field position," Flanagan said.
"To accuse us of running with elbows and knees is ridiculous. We are no different from any other team."
Ross, who suffered a severe neck injury in 2009 that required surgery and a long rehabilitation that almost forced him to quit the game, backed up his coach's comments while also saying that while he felt for Waerea-Hargreaves, the suspension was justified.
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