NRL: Emotional Sharks dedicate win to coach

Sharks fans celebrate a try. Photo /Getty Images
Sharks fans celebrate a try. Photo /Getty Images

An emotional Cronulla have dedicated their gritty round one win over Gold Coast to coach Shane Flanagan.

The Sharks mentor was stood down in the lead-up to the round one NRL clash by the doping crisis-hit club, but interim coach Peter Sharp was quick to heap praise upon Flanagan after the match which Cronulla won 12-10 at Sharks Stadium on Sunday before a raucous crowd of 17,541.

"This is about Shane and what a great job he has done," Sharp said.

"Flanno and Moons (sacked football manager Darren Mooney) put this team together and did a great job preparing them and that's the result tonight.

"There was a lot of emotion tonight but that's the result of Flanno's hard work over the last couple of years.

"I spoke to him a couple of times during the game, he is struggling, he wanted to be here not watching at home or wherever he is and he should have been."

Cronulla's tries to Matthew Wright (27th minute) and a barnstorming effort from Andrew Fifita (55th minute) were matched by four-pointers to Titans David Mead (47th minute)and Dave Taylor (70th minute).

Michael Gordon converted both Sharks tries and in the end it was a missed conversion from Titans five-eighth Aidan Sezer from the Taylor try which proved the difference.

The Sharks ground out the win in the same manner in which they had done through much of 2012.

Cronulla skipper Paul Gallen said his side was relieved to be playing football as the club has lurched from one crisis to another including claims of salary cap breaches and renewed allegations of the use of equine drugs on players on Sunday morning.

"It was the easiest thing (playing) I have done all week," Gallen said.

"I couldn't wait to get out there. It's 80 minutes where we go out there to do what we do best and that's play football. With all the crap that has been going on it was the best part of the week.

"It was a tough week. We got through it. We got the win, that's what we are here to do.

"We got the win and that's all that matters."

While Titans coach John Cartwright bemoaned his side's ability to finish off a tiring Sharks outfit, Sharp doubted things would improve for his club off the park.

"Do you want the truth?" he said.

"Probably not."

- AAP

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