Veteran Doctor To Sue NRL Sharks Over Sacking; Flanagan To Be Reinstated
Veteran National Rugby League Cronulla doctor Dave Givney has "become the first official to hit back at the Sharks over his sacking" after confirming he was taking legal action against the club, according to Honeysett & Read of THE AUSTRALIAN. Givney was "the first to sound the alarm over the methods of controversial sports scientist Stephen Dank at the Sharks." Givney met his lawyer Sam Macedone at his Miranda offices Monday night "to consider his options." Givney said, "After meeting with my lawyer today, I've decided to take legal action. I have no desire to do anything to harm the club, but I'm forced to leave matters in the hands of my lawyers at this time." Meanwhile, interim Cronulla coach Peter Sharp "holds grave fears for the wellbeing of several players" after revealing the strain the doping scandal had placed on the team. Sharp said, "They're in pieces, mate. There's blokes that haven't slept for days. There's blokes that have lost weight. I'm seriously worried about them" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 3/12).
'REALLY DEVASTATED': In Sydney, Adrian Proszenko reported sacked Cronulla physiotherapist Konrad Schultz is "holding out hope of being reinstated," claiming his reputation has been ''dragged through the mud'' for no reason. Schultz will meet with his legal team on Tuesday "to consider his options after his sixth season with the club was abruptly terminated." Schultz said, ''I keep thinking it's a bad dream, and that I'll wake up and it will be all right. To tell you the truth, I still want my job back and be reinstated. Doc [Givney] and I keep asking ourselves, 'What could we have done differently? What have we done wrong?' We're just really devastated." (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 3/12).
COACH REINSTATED: In Sydney, Josh Massoud reported suspended Sharks coach Shane Flanagan "could be reinstated as soon as next week, as pressure mounts on the club's beleaguered board." The development comes as Cronulla Chair Damian Irvine was "urged to publicly apologise for making 'stupid' comments about players taking equine supplements" in '11. A "ticket is being assembled to challenge Irvine's board at next month's elections" (DAILY TELEGRAPH, 3/12). Also in Sydney, Michael Chammas reported Flanagan will "continue his duties as coach in an unofficial capacity." Fairfax Media understands Flanagan is "refusing to let go of the team he assembled and is determined to ensure the on-field success of the club in turmoil." While Sharp has been given the tag of interim coach, Flanagan "will still be in constant contact with the staff and players about how he wants the side to prepare and play." From home, Flanagan will "analyse video and devise game plans" (SMH, 3/12).
CRITICISM ABOUNDS: In Sydney, Proszenko reported in a separate piece a potential candidate at the Cronulla board elections "strongly" criticized Irvine. Former head of cycling and fishing equipment manufacturer Shimano in Australia John Dunphy is "considering contesting the elections." Candidates have until March 18 to nominate, with members "going to the polls in mid-April." The multi-millionaire businessman "believes the directors are trying to protect their own interests." Dunphy: ''The consensus is the board has not stood up for the players, and they have buckled over. Are they saying Shane Flanagan is half guilty or a quarter guilty? Do you put them off or sack them? The physiotherapist - what did he do? Bugger all" (SMH, 3/12). Also in Sydney, Read reported Cronulla's attempts to retain Carney beyond this season "threaten to be undermined by the ongoing dramas at the club" and North Queensland co-captain Johnathan Thurston's decision to remain with the Cowboys. Carney is "off contract at the end of the season and has already knocked back one offer from the Sharks." Those negotiations "are now in limbo" because the club has stood down Flanagan and sacked football Manager Darren Mooney. The job of keeping Carney at the club is "now likely to fall to stand-in coach" Sharp and incoming interim CEO Bruno Cullen (THE AUSTRALIAN, 3/12).
GETTING A LEG UP: In Sydney, Ray Thomas reported the equine drug that has allegedly been used by some NRL players "is banned in horse racing and not available for veterinary use" in Australia. The Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory has "perfected a testing procedure to detect the use of the controversial drug." The horse peptide TB-500 is a "synthetic version of the naturally occurring peptide present in virtually all human and animal cells." Racing New South Wales Chief Steward Ray Murrihy said, "There is no evidence of TB-500 being used in Australian racing" (DAILY TELEGRAPH, 3/12).