NRL: Gallen in serious doubt to face Storm

Scans cleared Cronulla skipper Paul Gallen of serious injury. Photo / Getty Images
Scans cleared Cronulla skipper Paul Gallen of serious injury. Photo / Getty Images

Cronulla will likely have to face NRL ladder leaders Melbourne on Sunday without coach Shane Flanagan and inspirational skipper Paul Gallen.

Gallen was cleared of a kneeing charge at the NRL Judiciary on Wednesday night, but remains in extreme doubt with a knee injury while Flanagan is still recovering from surgery to correct a twisted bowel.

Shark's assistant coach Peter Sharp, who will take the helm in Flangan's absence, said it was important for Gallen to face the judiciary even though he is likely to miss the Storm match at Toyota Stadium.

"It's good for Paul, he wanted to clear his name,'' Sharp said.

"In the big picture, I think he's going to miss this week anyway so that didn't matter too much but it was important for Paul to clear his name.

"He'll be given every opportunity (to play) and he's a very very tough kid but at this stage he's unlikely.''

Sharp admitted it would be a difficult task to take on a Melbourne team boasting the star trio of Cooper Cronk, Billy Slater and Cameron Smith in a disrupted week but said the team could cope.

"It is difficult circumstances, Shane had some issues with his stomach which is unfortunate,'' Sharp said.

"But the main concern is Shane is all right. The team will run itself more or less.

"He's had an operation yesterday morning and he was a bit dusty but we expect him to make a full recovery.

"We've got a great group of senior players and they'll get the job done.''

- AAP

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