Photos | Cronulla Sharks captain Paul Gallen racing clock to be fit for preliminary final as Shane Flanagan hails great escape against Penrith Panthers

Scans have confirmed Paul Gallen does not have a fracture in his shoulder but the Sharks captain is still in a race against time to be fit for Friday night’s preliminary final.

Gallen left the field midway through the second half of Cronulla’s epic 21-20 elimination semi-final win over Penrith on Friday night, with initial fears that the veteran had suffered a broken shoulder.

Scans showed no break but Gallen has suffered ligament damage. It wouldn’t be known until later in the week whether or not Gallen will be fit to face the Storm in Melbourne for a place in the grand final.

Cronulla had better news on Luke Lewis, with the veteran back-rower only suffering a cork in his calf. But Josh Dugan, who was a late withdrawal for the win over Penrith, is only rated a 50-50 chance to make the trip to Melbourne with a shoulder problem.

Sharks coach Shane Flanagan paid tribute to his side after they showed plenty of heart to come back and win after they had blown 18-2 and 20-8 leads against Penrith at Allianz Stadium.

“We were ready to be knocked out about the 20 minute mark [of the second half] I thought,” Flanagan said.

“We had Kurt Capewell hasn’t played a lot of football in the last month and coming back from injury. Gal went off injured and Luke Lewis had a tight calf and had to come off.

“So we were ready to be knocked out then and we just hung on and showed some real grit and found a way to win.

“Lewy has had calf tightness for a while. He should be ok. Gal is just a wait and see. Touch wood that he’s ok. It’s a bit unknown.

“If Gal doesn’t come back on I’m real concerned. He can usually just go in and get it strapped up and battle on but for him to not come back in a big semi-final is a bit concerning.

“Let’s just hope it’s not as bad as first thought.

“Dugan will train on Monday and hopefully he’ll be ok. He was close but he couldn’t do the contact we wanted him to do on Thursday. So its probably 50-50 again I’d say.”


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