John Morris rules Matt Moylan out of Cronulla's elimination final against Manly

Matt Moylan has been ruled out of Cronulla's elimination final against Manly on Saturday night. Picture: John Veage
Matt Moylan has been ruled out of Cronulla's elimination final against Manly on Saturday night. Picture: John Veage

If Cronulla are to keep their season alive for another week they are going to have to do it without Matt Moylan.

The mercurial fullback was ruled out of the Sharks' side for their elimination final against Manly after failing to get through Cronulla's captain's run on Friday.

Moylan has been restricted to just 11 appearances in the black, white and blue this season as he has battled a recurring hamstring problem.

He looked a sure thing to return against the Tigers last week only to suffer a late set back again in the captain's run.

The Sharks will keep Josh Dugan at fullback for the clash at Brookvale Oval on Saturday night, with Aaron Gray coming onto the wing for the suspended Ronaldo Mulitalo.

Sharks coach John Morris said it was not worth taking a risk with Moylan in such a big game.

"He probably could have played. But [it was] just one of those things where he's not quite sure. There's an element of doubt there. Just given his last few weeks with it trying to get it right we just didn't think it was right to risk him. So we go without him for this week and hopefully the boys get the job done and we get some more footy out of him," Morris said.

Sharks coach John Morris. Picture: John Veage

Sharks coach John Morris. Picture: John Veage

"He's disappointed. He's kind of gone week in, week off over the back end of the year. We've really only got one chance to get it right. So we just felt putting him out on the field there'd be an element of doubt.

"Given it's a hamstring and given he's in a key position if it goes wrong you haven't got a lot of cover. We want to put the team first and hopefully he can get himself right and we can get the job done so he can get at least one more game.

"[Dugan has] performed real well [at fullback] this year. It allows us to continue with the same spine we've had for the last few weeks. I think for me it's about building on last week's performance and Duges did a really good job there. He's working really well with [halves] Shaun [Johnson] and Chad [Townsend] so we look forward to continuing that combination."

Morris said the Sharks had enjoyed a spring in their step around training this week after the boost of reaching the finals for the fifth consecutive season.

There were times when that scenario looked a long way off as Cronulla battled injury and interruption to a number of key players.

But rookie coach Morris, in his first season in charge at the Sharks, said he was proud of the way the club had risen to the challenge.

"It was certainly challenging through the middle part of the year. The injuries we had were crippling at times. Particularly to our top five or six players," he said.

"But I was just so proud of the club really to be able to pull through that. We just held faith in ourselves and backed ourselves and believed in each other. Five back to back losses can put a lot of stress and pressure on a playing group but they just kept on training well and kept turning up. Since that fifth loss [in a row] we had over in New Zealand we've gone five [wins] from seven [games] into the semis and our game looks completely different to what it did at the start of the year.

"That's what I'm most impressed about. I look at where we've come from. Our last month has been outstanding. Defensively we've been really happy. And that's our focus over at Manly. We've got to get that part of our game right as you do in any big game."

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