Roll on the coming of the New Year, and roll in the new challenges that await.
That’s the mantra of Sharks Coach Shane Flanagan, who has welcomed a busy start to the 2017 season, saying it’s a privilege – not a burden – to play in the World Club Series.
Soon to fly to the Northern Hemisphere to take on 2016 ESL Premiers Wigan for the title of World Champions, Flanagan says the side’s full focus is on that of what lay in front of them and not the dramatic achievements witnessed throughout the last season.
“At some stage we have to put that behind us, while it was a fantastic year and everyone enjoyed it … we’ve got to look forward to 2017,” Flanagan said.
“We need to play and perform like the Premiers. We need to get our heads on, we need to get our feet back on the ground.
“I think we’ve done that … we haven’t lost or forgotten too much. We’re starting off (2017) from where we left (2016).”
It’s a jam-packed start to the new year for the Sharks, who return to pre-season training next Monday in preparation for the Auckland Nines.
Held on the first weekend of February, the Nines tournament coincides with the Sharks versus Broncos trial in Redcliffe, also to be played that weekend.
With the squad to be stretched, Flanagan has suggested that both events will serve as genuine hit-outs before picking a squad to travel to Wigan.
“We’re going to go over there and put all our efforts in to win (versus Wigan),” Flanagan said.
“All of our training has been focussed around being ready for that game. It’s a little bit different (to regular trial matches).
“It’s a change of focus, to go to England and win that, and then to come back and be in really good shape and a good space going into Round 1 at home against the Broncos.
“It’s brought our schedule forward a few weeks, but that’s the joys of winning the competition.”