Cronulla coach John Morris has defended Josh Dugan after calls for him to retire following his hamstring injury in their loss to Melbourne.
Dugan, who started at fullback, will likely be sidelined for a few weeks after limping off AAMI Park midway through the first half of the 40-16 loss.
Fox Sports commentator Gorden Tallis said the 29-year-old struggled to finish any game and should call it quits.
"Every time I've watched him play this year he is down a lot and with the welfare of players now you would think that Josh Dugan is at the crossroads," Tallis said during the commentary.
"There has got to be a discussion around does he want to keep on playing? Everybody plays injured, but every time I watch him play he is always on the canvas."
Morris described the comments as "harsh" and said Dugan had been valuable for the Sharks this season and had only missed one game through injury.
"He's been very solid this year," Morris said.
"If you look at the centres alone in the game then Josh Dugan is ranked right at the top.
"As far as he's carrying the ball, breaking tackles and scoring tries he is ranked as high as any centre in the game, when he plays centre.
"He only played 12 games all of last year and he's played every game but one for us this year - I've been impressed with him."
Morris revealed that Dugan probably shouldn't have played against the Storm as he was carrying a back injury.
But with Matt Moylan and Wade Graham also sidelined with a hamstring injury as well skipper Paul Gallen out with a glute issue, they were down on troops.
"He should't have played today - he was busted," Morris said.
"He was needled before he went out today but people don't see that. They don't see what players go through in the background and what they are doing to get on the field."
The Sharks take on the Warriors next Friday night and also have Josh Morris in doubt after he suffered a badly broken nose late in the Storm game.
Morris said that despite slipping out of the eight they were still alive in the hunt for the finals, particularly with a run of home games looming.
"We are basically one win away from turning it around," Morris said.
"That's how close the competition is - we are paying the price for some close losses.
"We go to the Warriors next week and we are just desperate and we've got to find a way to win."