NRL confirm Cronulla Sharks' $30,000 fine for coach Shane Flanagan's referee outburst

Sanctioned: Cronulla have been fined $30,000 after coach Shane Flanagan's post-match press conference after the Sharks' loss to North Queensland in week one of the finals. Picture: John Veage
Sanctioned: Cronulla have been fined $30,000 after coach Shane Flanagan's post-match press conference after the Sharks' loss to North Queensland in week one of the finals. Picture: John Veage

Cronulla’s $30,000 fine from the NRL for coach Shane Flanagan’s emotional press conference after his side were controversially eliminated from the finals has been upheld.

The Sharks copped the fine after Flanagan’s criticism of match officials after Cronulla were beaten by eventual grand finalists North Queensland in week one of the semi-finals.

Manly’s $20,000 fine for their coach Trent Barrett’s comments was also confirmed, after his side’s elimination final was similarly marred by controversial decisions.

NRL head of football Brian Canavan said Cronulla and Manly’s submitted responses to the breach notices were considered.

“However, given the seriousness of the breaches – and the need for the integrity of the game to be maintained – it was decided that the penalties should stand,” Canavan said in a statement.

Cronulla’s fine was larger due to a "Cool Down" video filmed for club members in which Flanagan went on the attack further. The Sharks also claimed in an article on their website that finals crowds were beneath expectations because of blunders made by whistleblowers. 

The reigning premiers fell 15-14 to North Queensland in extra-time at Allianz Stadium in their elimination final which saw the Cowboys advance to a sudden-death semi-final against Parramatta.

Flanagan was left aggrieved with a number of contentious decisions made by referees Ashley Klein and Gavin Badger, calling the refereeing “disgraceful.” Flanagan produced a list of incidents that he believed directly impacted the result of the game.

Flanagan then issued a lengthy apology on the Sharks’ website for his outburst a week later, with Cronulla understood to have attempted to have the fine reduced in their response to the league.

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