Moylan axing sends warning to Sharks
Cronulla captain Wade Graham hopes Matt Moylan’s axing is a “line in the sand” moment for an inconsistent Sharks team desperate to avoid an early finals exit.
Moylan being dropped ahead of Saturday’s clash against North Queensland was shock news, but Graham believes it highlights that coach John Morris isn’t afraid to make tough decisions as the Sharks search for perfection.
Connor Tracey has been named at five-eighth for the Cowboys match after Moylan struggled defensively against his former club Penrith last weekend.
Despite his demotion, the veteran playmaker is determined to fight and earn back his position.
Graham wants Moylan’s dumping to send a clear message to the rest of the squad.
“Hopefully, we can get a bit of a reaction out of the team and play some better footy,” Graham said.
“We’ve had a number of senior guys throughout the year face internal pressure to play better footy and lead by example.
“We are getting to the time of the year where they are no real second chances, and if we want to play the level of footy that is going to put us in a position come finals, then there has to be a line-in-the-sand moment somewhere, and hopefully this is it.”
Graham said Moylan had handled his demotion with class as he looks to use the break to hone his game and return to the NRL side in the coming weeks.
“He is obviously disappointed, more so just from his performances, but there have been some reasons behind it,” he said.
“He has struggled with injuries and the time out on the training field.
“He isn’t happy with where his game is at, but this gives him a chance to step back, get some training in and work hard, and hopefully next time he comes back in, which I would imagine isn’t too far away, he is in a more confident and better headspace.”
Matt Moylan has handled his demotion with class, Sharks skipper Wade Graham says. Picture: Mark Kolbe/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
Eighth-placed Cronulla are four points ahead of the chasing pack with five rounds remaining, so barring a drop in form, they look set to play finals football.
The Sharks face North Queensland, Newcastle, Warriors, Roosters and Canberra to round out the season.
Graham knows Cronulla must win a certain number of games to make the finals, but he is more concerned about his team’s performance.
“Obviously, we need to win to secure our finals berth, but we need to be playing better footy,” he said.
“As we saw on the weekend (against Penrith), what is the point of making the finals if we toss something like that out against a quality team and get bundled out early.
“We have to challenge ourselves to be a lot better right across the park, so if we do secure a finals run we are not just going to be making up the numbers.”
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