Andrew Fifita of the Sharks is tackled during the round five NRL match against the Knights at Southern Cross Group Stadium.
Andrew Fifita of the Sharks is tackled during the round five NRL match against the Knights at Southern Cross Group Stadium. Matt Blyth

Fifita 'in a good headspace', says Sharks coach

CRONULLA coach Shane Flanagan doesn't expect the continued fallout from New South Wales' Origin series loss to affect his representative stars - particularly star forward Andrew Fifita.

With their eyes firmly on regaining a top-four position, starting on Friday night against the Rabbitohs, the defending premiers are enjoying their first full week without the disruptions of Origin in nearly two months.

The Sharks had five State of Origin representatives, the equal-highest of any club besides Melbourne, but Flanagan is confident his stars have overcome their representative hangovers.

The Blues' culture has been questioned in the wake of their loss to Queensland, with much of the spotlight shining on Fifita.

As well as the investigation into Josh Dugan and Blake Ferguson's six-hour pub visit, it has been alleged that Fifita shot down coach Laurie Daley's move to replace him in the starting line-up with David Klemmer.

Flanagan has been quick to refute the rumours, saying the front-rower told him he never discussed the issue with Daley.

"There has been (a lot of talk) - probably a little bit unwarranted maybe," Flanagan said.

"Obviously Andrew has said he didn't know too much about it.

"The talk post-Origin has got nothing to do with Andrew. He just needs to get his head back into Cronulla, which he will, and do what he needs to do here for the rest of the year.

"He needed to get that Origin over and done with and his wife having the baby. He's in a good headspace now."

On Thursday the Sharks welcomed back the last of their Origin stars, James Maloney, and Flanagan said the side was refreshed and ready to renew its premiership push.

"I'm ecstatic," he said.

"Jimmy (Maloney) had a couple of days off and he came back and was nice and fast today, which was good.

"We've got to treat it as a new competition now."

News Corp Australia

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