Gallen must push Flanagan pain aside
The likely end of an eight-year football relationship with Shane Flanagan has left Cronulla co-captain Paul Gallen devastated.
The Sharks veteran conceded that he needs to put his personal anguish aside to lead the club into an uncertain 2019 NRL campaign after Flanagan was deregistered for flouting no-contact rules with the club during a 2014 suspension.
"I've known Flanno for 20 years, he's been my head coach for six, seven, eight years so personally that's tough, that's the hardest part about it," Gallen told The Daily Telegraph.
"I went home on Wednesday night and thought about what a lot of those senior boys said, we're professional athletes, we're here to do a job, and they're 100 per cent right.
"And I've got to lead that at the club level, lead that on the training paddock and hopefully lead that on the field and that turns into win."
Flanagan has the right to appeal his ban by January 31, 2019.
Assistants Jim Dymock and John Morris will act as head coaches in the meantime.
Flanagan is accused of communicating with Sharks officials about player recruitment, medical issues, staff, coaching, and signing off on a press release despite strict instructions not to have any football-related talk with the team in 2014.
And while Gallen can't talk to Flanagan about the NRL, he has messaged the coach and plans to speak to him soon.
"We've got no issues talking to him, I've texted him, as far as contact goes with him the NRL hasn't said 'You can't talk to him', obviously it's not going to be about football matters," Gallen said.
"He'll be OK, he's got some good people around him. He'll be OK and the club will be OK, and we'll move forward."
Gallen and senior players Aaron Woods, Matt Moylan and Andrew Fifita to address the entire squad after news of Flanagan's ban broke on Wednesday, and the resolve was unified.
"From a playing point of view, we're there to play football and I've been really impressed with the playing group, the senior group especially and their attitude of moving forward and we'll do that," Gallen said.
"Blokes like Woodsy, Moylan and Fifita, Josh Morris; their attitude is football, moving forward.
"I wanted to get their opinion on where we're at, what their thoughts are going forward, and their focus is football which I was really impressed with.
"We can't let the rest affect us, it's not our job, we understand what we read in the paper but we're not privilege to any detail about what's actually happened.
"Winning the comp is the ultimate goal but there's 16 teams wanting to do that. We're not talking about that yet, we're talking about preparing well for every training session.
"[Wednesday] was a bit numbing for everyone, but I'm clear about what's going to happen, Flanno's got an appeals process in place, we'll respect that and wait to see if he appeals or not.
"If he does we'll have to wait until that's over."
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