Sharks coach Shane Flanagan agrees with Paul Gallen’s comments over Valentine Holmes’ exit.Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan is backing Paul Gallen to the hilt, agreeing with the Sharks’ seething skipper that Valentine Holmes has left the club high and dry.
Gallen polarised fans with his call for the NRL to consider life bans for players like Holmes who walk away from contracts to pursue a career in other sports after the Sharks’ attacking trump successfully sought a release from the club to chase his NFL dream.
Sharks great Mat Rogers said Gallen should pull his head in, given the veteran “cops money for fighting (boxing) while he’s contracted”.
But Flanagan is very much in Gallen’s corner.
“I support Gal. It just shows how passionate he is and how much the team and this club means to him,” Flanagan told AAP.
“He’s filthy that it’s happened now and that Val’s walked away from a contract and I support him on that.
“While I understand Val’s got a dream, I would prefer him to have that dream at the end of next year, not this year.”
After being blindsided by Holmes’ request for a release, Flanagan finally met with the want-out star on Wednesday afternoon.
“It’s something we’ve got no control of,” the coach said.
“I understand his passion for it and why he’s doing it, but it’s just disappointing.
“We knew we had his contract here so we had him not pencilled him – but penned in – to play next year and now he’s not here.
“So it will take me a bit of a while to get over it, but we’ll get over it.”
The Sharks have also lost winger Edrick Lee and exciting young centre Jesse Ramien to Newcastle and 2016 grand final-winning centre Ricky Leutele to the Toronto Wolfpack.
Flanagan said the Sharks wouldn’t have had to offload the whole backline trio had the club not stored away a million dollars a season to try to keep Holmes.
“If we knew Val wasn’t here, one or two of those players might have still been here,” he said.
“So it has a ripple effect both ways in hindsight and moving forward.
“When you’re No.1 player ups and leaves at this stage of the year, you look back and say ‘geez, we could have signed him or could have kept him’.
“So, yeah, it definitely has a massive ripple effect in all directions.”