Warriors humbled as Cronulla welcomes back its leader.
The Cronulla Sharks continued their impressive form to start season 2013, after thumping a disappointing New Zealand Warriors outfit 28-4.
Scoring five tries to one the Sharks ran away with the game after a close first 30 minutes, with errors in attack proving costly for the New Zealand side.
The win is a testament to the mental strength at the Sharks this season, as the club continues to operate under a cloud of uncertainty as they continue to be the focus of the Australia Sport Anti-Doping Authority investigation into performance enhancing drugs in the NRL.
Flanagan was returned to his post this week by the Sharks’ board after a major backlash from its fans, who showed their appreciation for the top coach, with signs of support dotting the 12,183 strong home crowd.
The Warriors put up a fight for much of the first half, trailing just 6-0 after 34 minutes.
But two tries to Michael Gordon and Beau Ryan saw Cronulla go to the break 18-0 ahead, and then another try five minutes on the other side of halfway saw them kick away to 24-0.
New Zealand halfback Shaun Johnson looked to spark his side by nailing a 40/20 kick, but a knock-on from the resulting scrum typifies the Warriors’ struggles this season.
Flanagan said the club’s senior members were playing a pivotal role in keeping the squad focused as best as they can on the task of preparing for the weekend.
“Someone told me we have got the most experienced NRL squad in the competition,” Flanagan said.
“And that’s showing by having poor preparation and we’re still able to win footy games, and that’s because of the quality of player.”
The Warriors’ winless start to the 2013 season means they have now lost 11 in a row stretching back to last year, as they stayed rooted to the bottom of the ladder along with St George Illawarra.