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Taking care of the Broncos in their Round 9 clash at Southern Cross Group Stadium, Shane Flanagan said his men have always had the belief that they're genuine premiership contenders in 2016.

That status though will face another test -  and of another kind - this Sunday, as the Sharks travel to the Hunter Stadium to face a struggling Newcastle Knights outfit.

Not taking the Knights lightly despite their current ranking on the NRL ladder, Flanagan said the side is preparing for the task this week as well, and as stringent, as any other.

"From Round 1 we played well against the Cowboys, we played well right through up until the 74th minute where it was 14-all," Flanagan said.

"We competed really well (versus the Cowboys), and we've been pretty competitive most of the year. The Broncos was another test, and we played really well in the first half as you know ... We learned a lot out of that second half.

"Controlling teams, and controlling matches ... that's the challenge for us next time." 

See the full interview with Flanagan, now playing.