Flanagan makes no apologies - he wants Townsend's spot

Kyle Flanagan makes no apologies for the desire to start in the No.7 jersey by season's end, even at the expense of Sharks premiership-winning halfback Chad Townsend.

Flanagan's pre-season has been nothing short of disruptive with his father Shane's demise as coach of the club bringing the 20-year-old into the unwanted spotlight over the summer.

But one thing has always remained clear in the playmaker's mind - the halfback spot alongside Shaun Johnson is all he is focused on.  

"I'm not going to wait around for my turn to come, I'm going to go get it myself," Flanagan told NRL.com.

"100% I want that jersey. We'll see what happens. Me and Chad are all good but at the end of the day everyone wants that spot and wants to win."

Shane was on deck to support Kyle at the club's recent trial against Manly, six days before the NRL confirmed his de-registration from coaching in the game.

The family support in the stands generated some media attention, something Kyle expects to continue in 2019.

Sharks halfback Chad Townsend.
Sharks halfback Chad Townsend. ©Shane Myers/NRL Photos

"I knew it was coming but nothing will stop him from coming to games in the future," Kyle said.

"He's always supported me throughout my career and always will. It's been a tough time for him and the family but we are alright. He's still helping me on my own game and always will.

"I couldn't ask for a better dad to help me out, he's always pulling me up on things but that's what you want."

Naturally a change of coach can bring upon a change in direction for individual players and their careers, none more so than now than for Flanagan.

But the Junior Kangaroos representative said he had received reassurance from new coach John Morris that the pathway his dad had in mind would not be impacted under his watch.

"Bomber (Morris) has been clear to me he's got the same goals that the old man would," Flanagan said.

"That's important to me and something Dad hoped would continue to happen too. I've had Bomber from SG Ball through to the under 20s. We've had success in the past and want that for the future.

"I have the same goals, nothing has changed too much there. I want to cement myself in first grade. If I can play around 10-15 this year, I'd like to think I can cement a permanent spot after that."

Cronulla dominated the Knights 30-6 in their final trial and aim for a repeat performance against the Novocastrians in round one.

Sharks playmaker Shaun Johnson.
Sharks playmaker Shaun Johnson. ©Shane Myers/NRL Photos

Flanagan came off the bench for the pre-season hit-out and was blown away by the impact Johnson had on the paddock and believes his style will bring a new brand of attack to the side.

"He's massive for me, his attacking ability is unbelievable. I'm always watching his work on the field and when we link up it's special," Flanagan said.

"In the past, our footy has been a bit structured but Shaun brings that off the cuff flow and playing on the front foot.

"He's also built a solid block with Matt Moylan at the back and when they both play off the cuff it helps make our attack unpredictable."