SHARKS coach Shane Flanagan has warned former Tigers props Bryce Gibbs and Andrew Fifita to prepare for sledge warfare at Leichhardt Oval today.
Tigers coach Tim Sheens banned his players from talking to Cronulla’s new front-row duo after they were squeezed out of Concord last season.
Gibbs and Fifita will be out to get square.
And the Tigers trio in the firing line will be new recruit Adam Blair and young props Aaron Woods and Matt Groat, who were the reason Gibbs and Fifita were moved on.
Sharks coach Flanagan has spoken to his players and handed captain Paul Gallen the assignment of shutting down New Zealand Kiwi Test back-rower Blair.
“I’m sure some Tigers players will try to get under (Gibbs’ and Fifita’s) skin a little bit, but we’ve addressed that internally and those two boys just want to go out and win the game,” Flanagan said.
"I’m sure they’re going to get niggled, we have spoken about it and we’ve got a plan in place.
“They’ve said to me that they’ve got some responsibility to their team-mates that they don’t want to let them down so they won’t be crossing the line.”
In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph last June, Fifita was blunt when asked about the prospect of meeting Blair, who was signed from the Melbourne Storm.
“We can’t wait. To play this one bloke who’s taken most of the boys’ spots in the team … can’t wait,” Fifita said. "It’s been a bit upsetting because all the boys are really tight. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a really good forward. But I would love to have stayed at the Tigers.
“It’s heartbreaking, but it’s done now and the Sharks is where I’ll be.”
Flanagan placed Gibbs and Fifita on media bans this week but said the trip to Leichhardt held no fears for the club.
“We’ve got no fear about going there, we like going there. These players like playing in front of big crowds and we know we’re definitely going to get one,” Flanagan said.
“We can’t wait. To play this one bloke who’s taken most of the boys’ spots in the team* … can’t wait,” Fifita said. "It’s been a bit upsetting because all the boys are really tight. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a really good forward. But I would love to have stayed at the Tigers.
- = 2 blokes. 2 blokes out of 17 is not equal to “most.”
Quick, someone call the hyperbole police!
Careful when you criticise Fifita, some people in here take it personally for some reason.
Anyway, people always fire up when play their old team, but Fifita can create a fantasy where he is some sort of martyr if he thinks it will help.
Gibbs is the real danger for us. I hope he plays well and gets a cheer from the leichhardt crowd.