Fifita gamble pays off for Flanagan
January 23, 2012 - 3:49PM
Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan revealed he called Wests Tigers’ bluff in a bid to ensure Andrew Fifita would become a Sharks player in 2012.
Having lost key front-rowers Luke Douglas and Kade Snowden to the Gold Coast Titans and Newcastle respectively, Flanagan was desperate to sign experienced replacements.
The Tigers, facing salary cap pressures after agreeing a massive deal for Melbourne’s Adam Blair, offered Bryce Gibbs to the Sharks despite the 27-year-old, who won a premiership with the club in 2005, having three years left on his contract.
Advertisement: Story continues below
Although he was more than happy to sign Gibbs, Flanagan admitted he gambled by threatening to pull out of the deal unless the hard-running Fifita was part of the package.
The joint-venture were reluctant to part with one of their best young players, who’s one of the most exciting forwards in the game and has been tipped for future representative honours.
But with the threat of the Blair deal not going through, the Tigers agreed to let the 22-year-old move to Shark Park and Flanagan believes his gain is very much the Tigers’ loss.
“We did a deal with the Tigers, they needed to free-up some money in the salary cap quickly and they decided to let Bryce Gibbs go,” Flanagan told AAP.
"I put it to them that they we could take Andrew. I then told them we wouldn’t take one without the other and it was good luck to us that we got him.
“He’s an X-factor type of player. He’s not a typical front-rower. He can unload and has a good turn of foot and I’m looking forward to him being in our team.”
Fifita and Gibbs will be joined by fellow front-rowers Jon Green, Ben Ross and Mark Taufua in the new boys’ corner at Shark Park.
They arrive along with Parramatta’s grand final halfback Jeff Robson, 2010 Dally M Medal winner Todd Carney and Newcastle hooker Isaac De Gois as Flanagan overhauled his squad in a bid to make the finals for the first time since 2008.
The former Kangaroos assistant coach said his team will be the strongest since he took over from Ricky Stuart midway through the 2010 season, but still looking for reinforcements in his backline.
“I am happy with what we have recruited, next step is to get an Origin or Kangaroos standard back, then we can really threaten,” he said.
Hmmm….really goes against the grain of whats been said by some previously
It seems a little unprofessional of Flanagan to be mouthing off about how he reckons he got one over on the Tigers - I certainly don’t know another sport where a coach would be making a big play about how he’s mugged off another team in his transfer dealings with them, and certainly not before any of the players involved have played a game. Still, whatever. Start getting in the top four regularly, Sharks, and we’ll start giving props to your transfer business.
I thought thats pretty much whats been said on here. Isnt it well known the Sharks said they wouldnt take Gibbs without Fifita?
That story sounds very familiar, but I thought it was the other way around? (The Sharks wanted Fifita and Tigers only agreed to the deal if they took Bryce as well.)
Either way, Flanagan has gone off a bit early. I hope both a fit and well for Round 1 or he is gona look like a dill!
Bryce will be a huge loss compared to Fifita
I miss Bryce already
Couldn’t agree more happy.Bryce did a lot of work that often went unnoticed. Have a look at any game from the last few years and Gibbs set the line speed and tackled his backside off. Not many props can play the opening 25 without a break. No point dwelling on the past though. I’m hoping that Between Bell and Woods they can pick up where Gibbs left off…
Bell couldn’t unzip his own fly he will be average on a good day, not in my strongest 17…
Also Flanagan is the coach of that pair, I expect him to come out talking them up, they’re his boys now its a big vote of confidence for them…
No harm wot sharks have said or done, good on him…
At full strength we have the strongest pack in the comp now, so tigers definitely in front
Posted using RoarFEED
I think a lot of people on here are a bit hard on Fifita - Yea he went missing towards the end of the year and probably had a chip on his shoulder over not being selected but i think with a regular first grade spot and a few games under his belt with the right coach this guy will be a star - just not sure its going to happen at Cronulla.