Josh Hannay has told Will Chambers that sledging doesn't have a place in Cronulla's youthful NRL side, reminding him it is a different environment to a dominant Melbourne.
Chambers has been dropped for Cronulla's crucial clash with Newcastle, having returned underdone after a period out of the Sharks' group due to border closures.
Cronulla have stressed that the veteran's demotion was not due to his sledging – an act which even drew the ire of ARLC chairman Peter V'landys on Friday.
Chambers has been known for his acid tongue throughout his NRL career, where his status as one of the world's best centres during his spell at the Storm complemented his ability to get under rivals' skin.
But now aged 33 and signed on a short six-month contract at the Sharks on his return to the NRL, his sledging has drawn more headlines in the past two weeks than his performances.
Chambers first targeted Dylan Walker while Cronulla were trailing Manly a fortnight ago, before he was punched by Kane Evans in last week's loss to the Warriors.
While Hannay is confident Chambers' sledging was not part of the reason behind his poor form, he made a point to him that it wasn't wanted in the Sharks side if the centre returns.
“We are as a club and we're a young football side and we're not winning week in week out like the Melbourne Storm side,” Hannay said.
“Invariably they, they always finished the contest on top which means you've got the last say.
“I said to Will that just for our group and the transition period we're going through as a team.
“I don't know that the sledging necessarily suits our group.
“He sees the sledging as part of who he is and we're not going to change that.
“But I think he's also very respectful of our group, and how it may sit with our group as well.”
Hannay said Chambers had responded well to his axing, after also assuring him the sledging was not part of the decision.
Cronulla face a month-long walk on the finals tightrope, with Sunday's match a virtual four-point game with the Knights also fighting for the final two spots in the top eight.
The focus on Chambers' sledging came after he first threw a shoe of an opponent away last weekend, before going after Matt Lodge.
It has been claimed he raised Lodge's criminal history and personal life with the Warriors prop, as well his brother-in-law Sean O'Sullivan.
V'landys on Friday told 2GB that was “out of bounds”.
“It's not in the spirit of the game, and it's not in the spirit of humanity,” V'landys said.
“You don't pick on someone's weaknesses or things that have happened in their life that are regrettable.”Internet Explorer Channel Network