Sharks tyro faces axe

RUGBY LEAGUE:

A young Cronulla Sharks player’s future at the club is in grave doubt after he repeatedly played the ball in last night’s clash with the North Queensland Cowboys without spending seconds each time trying to milk a penalty for some perceived tackle or marker infringement.

The unnamed player (at far right in the picture above) in his first season in A grade will front the club’s management today after he was given a savage dressing-down by captain Paul Gallen and other senior players in the sheds after the match.

“Your actions tonight were totally outside both the spirit and tradition of how we’ve always played the game at this club,” Gallen reportedly told the shaken tyro.

“Apart from your disgraceful play-the-ball behaviour, you didn’t once remonstrate with the refs over any tackle made on you or Cowboys rushing off the line early. What the fuck were you thinking? It was a close-run thing as it was and you could have lost it for us.

“Surely you must have known our Prime Minister was in the crowd? Has there ever been a more loyal supporter of our club’s win-at-any-cost mantra?

“The moment we run on as a Sharks team, we have got to be in the refs’ faces complaining loudly and bitterly about anything we can think of – 10-metre and play-the-ball infringements, little knock-ons the refs have missed, head-high tackles, chicken-wing tackles, flops, eye gouges, opponents’ socks not pulled up – and that pressure’s got to start well before kick-off.

“If you don’t want this club to one day win a second premiership maybe it’s best that you move on.”