Rugby League

NRL 2021: Canterbury coach Trent Barrett jumps to the defence of embattled halfback Kyle Flanagan

Trent Barrett has thrown his support behind embattled halfback Kyle Flanagan, saying he needs the support of teammates to be able to “showcase his talents”.

Flanagan was under the spotlight when he knocked on an admittedly poor pass from second-rower Adam Elliott early in the first half against the Broncos on Saturday with the tryline wide open.

The Broncos eventually won the match 24-0 but all four tries came in the closing stages of the match and they looked hapless in attack at stages in the opening hour.

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Had the Dogs been able to capitalise on their early chances, it may have been a different story.

And while it was Flanagan that dropped the ball, it was what he was unable to create in attack that was of more concern.

Much has been made of the Bulldogs’ attempts to lure Matt Burton from Penrith ahead of his official 2022 start date to partner Flanagan in the halves.

But youngster Jake Averillo showed some nice touches on Saturday, while Flanagan was unable to engineer anything for his side, which played one-out rubbish for much of the match.

Barrett acknowledged the former Rooster was not at his best against the Broncos.

But he said he could not be a one-man band.

“Your halves are pretty easy to blame when the attack falls down, but there’s a hell of a lot that needs to happen around a halfback for him to play well,” he said.

“I think we saw in patches in round one and round two that Kyle played very well – against Newcastle he was probably one of the better players on the field.

“But there’s a lot of things that need to happen around a good halfback for him to be able to showcase his talents, too.

“He could have done a few things better (against the Broncos) but the attack revolves around 13 people on the football field and if your middles aren’t doing their job, or you hooker’s not doing his job, or your backrowers are not leading properly, then the whole thing falls down and that’s where we’re at, at the moment.”

Flanagan has his work cut out in the next fortnight, with the Bulldogs taking on the Rabbitohs and Storm with the club attempting to notch their first win since last year’s round 19 shock victory against the Bunnies.

Originally published asDon’t blame Kyle: Barrett backs embattled halfback

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