Premiership-winning coach Shane Flanagan reveals toll on his son Kyle after Dogs gave him baptism of fire by picking him to play Penrith: ‘We don’t want this’
Shane Flanagan has dismissed suggestions Canterbury threw his son Kyle ‘to the wolves’ after selecting him for the upcoming game against Penrith, but conceded it had been a difficult week for the halfback.
Kyle Flanagan’s selection has dominated the NRL discourse this week, with the Bulldogs criticised in several quarters for including him in their starting lineup for the clash against the still undefeated reigning premiers on Sunday.
Canterbury has lost three of its four games so far, with Jake Averillo getting the nod for the first two rounds before being replaced by Brandon Wakeham.
Shane Flanagan has defended Canterbury over their decision to start his sone Kyle against powerhouse Penrith in Round 5 of the NRL season
Bulldogs coach Trent Barrett has since opted to give Flanagan a run in first-grade football, drawing criticism he was setting the 23-year-old up to fail.
Flanagan’s father, however, defended the Bulldogs.
‘It’s been a tough week; we don’t want this and Kyle definitely doesn’t need it,’ Shane, who led Cronulla to the premiership in 2016, told 2GB.
‘Kyle couldn’t care who he plays against this week, he just wants to get back into first grade. It just happens to be against Penrith Panthers, but so what in Kyle’s mind.
Kyle Flanagan will become the third halfback to start for the Bulldogs this season on Sunday
‘He just wants to get out and play first grade. At some point during the year, hopefully he goes out and plays against every footy team.
‘I can understand some people’s perception about him being thrown in against Penrith, but if it’s time for him to play, it’s time for him to play.’
This week, former Canterbury great and current NRL 360 host Braith Anasta criticised the Bulldogs’ handling of the situation, suggesting Flanagan had been thrown an ‘hospital pass’ by the club.
That provoked a stern reaction from Bulldogs general manager Phil Gould, who insisted he had played a major role in how the club dealt with the 23-year-old in the offseason.
Phil Gould lashed out at critics in the media who said the club was failing in its duty of care to Flanagan by throwing him into the fray against the powerhouse Panthers
Bulldogs coach Trent Barrett had to ask Gould’s permission before naming Flanagan at halfback for the match against Penrith raised eyebrows
On Thursday Gould revealed he had the final say in the decision to put Flanagan back into first grade and not Barrett.
‘It’s not Trent Barrett who has made a decision on when he comes back to first grade,’ Gould said on his Six Tackles With Gus podcast.
‘Trent wanted him in the side, but he came and asked me for permission to do it. I could have easily said no if I didn’t think he was ready. I said yes.’
Flanagan echoed Gould’s stance and revealed he had personally discussed the matter with the former New South Wales coach.
Barrett hopes Flanagan can fill Canterbury’s No.7 jersey for the next 10 years
‘Gus [Gould] came out and said that he’s been dealing with Kyle, and that is 100 per cent correct,’ he said.
‘I met with Gus last year and he said, “We need to reset him, we need to get him started again, he had a tough year last year and was playing in a side getting a lot of points put on them”.
‘He’s changed his game, he’s changed the way he is playing, so he needed to go back to NSW Cup and enjoy himself.
‘Gus said he’d work really hard, work on a few things and once he got them right he’d be back in first grade. To his credit, he stuck to his word and has been working with Kyle.’