Flanagan no Dogs scapegoat says Barrett

Kyle Flanagan will travel with Canterbury to face Canberra in Brisbane despite being dropped.
Kyle Flanagan will travel with Canterbury to face Canberra in Brisbane despite being dropped.

Canterbury coach Trent Barrett has poured cold water on the suggestion halfback Kyle Flanagan is being scapegoated for the NRL club's on-field struggles.

Flanagan broke down during a media interview earlier this week when asked about the support he's receiving from his father, premiership-winning coach Shane Flanagan, amid a rocky start to life as a Bulldog.

The 22-year-old was hooked midway through last weekend's 32-12 loss to St George Illawarra and subsequently missed out on a spot in the 17 for Saturday's Magic Round clash against Canberra in Brisbane.

It's left question marks over Flanagan's future having only joined the Bulldogs after being cut loose by the Sydney Roosters last year.

"I disagree with that, we've had a lot of people come in and out of the team," Barrett said when asked if Flanagan was being forced to wear the club's struggles as his own.

"There was a couple of blokes that came out of that side from last week. It's part of the game.

"It happens at times but part of our job is to give those players the tools to get back into first grade.

"Where we are on the table, we're all accountable to it.

"I'm accountable to it and our players are as well."

Barrett did admit in hindsight the club probably shouldn't have made Flanagan available for media interviews, but felt the youngster had handled the process well until asked about his father.

"We certainly didn't expect Kyle to get as emotional as he did," Barrett said.

"In hindsight if we have had known that was going to happen, you don't put him up, but there was no signs leading into that interview."

Barrett is also adamant Flanagan has a future at Belmore, pointing out he'll still travel with his teammates to Brisbane as part of the extended squad.

"We'll give Kyle the tools to get back into first grade. This is certainly not the end for Kyle," he said.

"He's a good little player and he's doing some good things but he's got some things to work on. It's our job to help him with them."

Australian Associated Press