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Paul Gallen blasts NRL finals controversy amid Shark Park backlash

The club great isn't entertaining the idea thrown up by NRL legends.

Paul Gallen during commentary and Roosters players celebrate.
Club great Paul Gallen (pictured left) has blasted suggestions the Sharks and Roosters NRL finals game should be moved from Shark Park because of the capacity. (Getty Images)

Club great Paul Gallen has blasted suggestions Cronulla shouldn't be able to play at Shark Park this weekend for their NRL finals elimination match because of its capacity. The NRL world is divided on whether the Sharks, who finished sixth on the ladder, have the right to play the Roosters at Shark Park with renovations going to leave the capacity at around 12,000.

Many fans in the NRL find the finals system unique with teams able to host games at suburban grounds. However, many in the game don't feel these stadiums allow the sport to maximise the potential of the biggest games of the season.

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Panthers great Greg Alexander does not believe the elimination finals game should be played at Shark Park because of the redevelopment. Roosters great and Blues coach Brad Fittler also feels the game needs to be moved.

However, Sharks great Gallen has let rip at those calling for the game to be moved. The Sharks have worked hard all year to earn a first week finals home ground match.

And Gallen does not believe the Sharks should be disadvantaged in moving their home ground to Allianz, which would essentially act as a Roosters home game. "Why should other clubs get the advantage of choosing their finals venue, but the Sharks be forced to take their game somewhere else?" he wrote for the Wide World of Sports.

"People are suggesting Allianz Stadium should host Saturday's game against the Roosters. Get stuffed, no way. As if Cronulla would willingly take a home final to a venue that is in the middle of the opposition territory. That would be ridiculous."

Reads 'NRL Finals 2023' with the cut out images of three players throwing a football - Cameron Munster, Nathan Cleary and Reece Walsh, with a backdrop of a football stadium.
Discover more of our NRL Finals coverage. (Click here for our full coverage of the NRL Finals.)

While Gallen admitted he understood where fans were coming from, it was not in the interest of the club to m,give up their home ground advantage.

NRL greats question Shark Park call

Alexander wasn't sure the 12,000 capacity amid the redevelopment was ideal for finals footy. Although Alexander said CommBank acted as a neutral ground, compared to Allianz.

"The rules should change. You have to go somewhere that holds more than 12,000 people," he argued. "You can’t have one part of (the ground) under construction. Sorry Cronulla people, I'm taking it out to CommBank."

Nicho Hynes smiles.
Nicho Hynes (pictured) and the Sharks will want to run out in front of their fans this week at Shark Park. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images) (Ian Hitchcock via Getty Images)

Roosters great Fittler suggested the game should be moved to fit a larger crowd since the Sharks will only get around 12,000. Ahead of the clash, Sharks coach Craig Fitzgibbon will have a big decision to make if fullback Connor Tracey is ruled out. The No.1 suffered a knee-injury in the win over the Raiders.

If he is ruled out for the clash against the Roosters, Fitzgibbon could be forced to play Nicho Hynes at fullback considering Will Kennedy and Kade Dykes are already sidelined.

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