Cronulla Sharks coach Shane Flanagan is such a believer in the saying that there are ”lies, damned lies, and statistics’’ that he used all three in the lead up to his team’s win over Parramatta on Saturday night.
In a rare deviation from the boring cliches that rugby league press conferences are known for, Flanagan and Sharks captain Paul Gallen detailed a week-long ruse that managed to get the desired effect of convincing Cronulla’s players that they needed to lift.
Lift they did with an impressive performance.
”I made some stuff up about their forward pack was going to challenge ours, that’s the whisper in the hallways. I got Blocka (Steve Roach) to chat to me on the sideline,’’ Flanagan said. ”Just a bit of a white lie there.’’
Gallen said he had cottoned-on to Flanagan’s games earlier in the week.
”He did it at the start of the week as well, got stuck right into us about something, and it just didn’t register with me real well,’’ he said.
”I actually had a meeting with him about it. I said ‘mate, what are you talking about with this thing?’, and he said ‘oh mate, I made it up’.’’
After Gallen was initially shied away from going into greater detail, his coach didn’t hold back.
”It was about stats, I said only two or three or our players have reached or were near our stats from last year. I had no idea what the stats were,’’ he said.
The fun and games Flanagan had at his players’ expense does create potential for problem, however.
Now they know he can be loose with facts when it suits him, they could be excused for treating future motivational attempts with trepidation.