SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 02: Kyle Flanagan of the Roosters attempts to kick a goal during the NRL Qualifying Final match between the Penrith Panthers and the Sydney Roosters at Panthers Stadium on October 02, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

NRL great Andrew Johns has defended Roosters halfback Kyle Flanagan after the Roosters were eliminated from the Finals in straight sets.

Sydney were in good position for a third consecutive NRL premiership, before losses to Penrith and Canberra ended any chance of a three-peat.

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With a lot of the focus on Flanagan, who the Roosters are prepared to give up with a year to run on his contract, Johns says the critics are being too harsh on him.

“Go and watch Jonathan Thurston when he was 20… go and watch Cooper Cronk, he was coming off the bench playing dummy-half,” he said on Nine’s Wide World of Sports.

“It takes so long to try and master the half back position… the people who are being too tough on him don’t know what they’re talking about.”

Johns also argued that with the number of injuries that the Roosters had this season, in addition to the retirement of Cooper Cronk, the role Flanagan had was incredibly demanding.

“When Victor Radley got hurt, Radley was their link in the middle of the field, when he went, Kyle Flanagan took on a lot more responsibility, Also Luke Keary had those head knocks.” he said.

According to reports, Canterbury are the hot favourites to secure his signature with Matthew Johns telling NRL 360 that the Bulldogs under new coach Trent Barrett would be an ideal fit.

“I actually think going to a club like that where the expectation is lower would suit him,” he said.

“(Barrett) he’s done a good job with Nathan Cleary (at Penrith) this year… They’re a club on the build that’s for sure.”