Fifita stung after fresh revelation
THE controversy surrounding Andrew Fifita's outburst at Cronulla's coaching staff during the Sharks win over North Queensland may have only just begun after the towering prop was brought to the club on Monday to answer to head coach Shane Flanagan.
Fifita got up from scoring a try and pointed and yelled at the Sharks' box after spending half of the game on the bench.
Flanagan initially insisted there wasn't much to talk about after Fifita's stunning spray, which came after he was told he wasn't running hard enough before being brought off the field in the 19th minute.
"It's not a problem, he came back in the second half and did a good job," he said.
But an interesting clip of the pair avoiding each other in the sheds after the 28-16 win had viewers speculating over a rift between the pair.
Either way, there appears to be more going on in the Cronulla camp than first thought with the Sharks trying to handle the situation privately.
"We'll deal with it in house," Flanagan said Monday. "It's a matter between Andrew and the coaching staff."
Fifita apologised to teammates following the 28-16 win and claimed the reaction was directed at Cronulla assistant Jim Dymock, who criticised him at half-time, and not Flanagan, but that was only after he spoke to Sharks officials shortly after the final siren.
Sharks veteran Luke Lewis slammed his fellow forward for the ugly Saturday night outburst.
"It's definitely not the way to react and it's not the thing we want to be sending out there to kids and all that sort of stuff," Lewis said.
"It wasn't a good look for the game and it wasn't a good look for our side either which is very disappointing because we had a good win and really enjoyed it."
Former Sharks hooker Michael Ennis joined Lewis on Monday in slamming Fifita.
"Andrew is an emotional guy, but I thought he got it wrong the other night," Ennis said.
"I thought there was some real good honesty from some influential figures after that game in Luke Lewis and Shane Flanagan.
"I thought Flanagan had a plan in place and given how good Woods has been off the bench, he took Fifita off the field early, which Andrew was clearly unhappy with.
"When you show that sort of emotion, it then affects the club and Cronulla are in the headlines for the wrong reasons, instead of that brave performance.
"Now we are focusing on all the negative stuff and everyone has to deal with it."
Fifita was benched in the 19th minute after he gave away a penalty in the lead-up to a Cowboys try.
He then returned with 20 minutes to play in the game, as Flanagan claimed the Sharks had to manage a knee injury for the firebrand for the run into the finals.
Told in the post-match press conference that it looked like Fifita was desperate to get back on the field while on the bench, Flanagan said: "Good on him, it's not his team."
Flanagan echoed Lewis's thoughts and suggested he would talk to his representative prop about the blow-up on Monday.
"You know on one hand I like the passion and I want him to get out there and play like that, but also just do your job and get on with it; he doesn't need to be doing things like that," he said.
"Apparently it was Jimmy but, as I said, I'm not quite sure.
"It's probably just the look that you don't need and it's not an issue for me and we'll get on with it."
However, Balmain great Steve Roach cast doubt on the party line it was Dymock and not Flanagan on the receiving end of Fifita's spray. Roach said Dymock was on the sideline when Fifita scored and not in the box, where he directed his anger.
"Of course it was aimed at the coach," Roach said. "Jim Dymock was on the sideline. (Fifita) was pointing up into the stands.
"I'll tell you why he didn't publicly say it, because the media manager got to him before he did his interview and was told what to say."