Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan warned careers were in danger of being cut short by refereeing clangers as he took aim at the men running the sidelines after the Sharks' top four NRL spot was left in jeopardy on Sunday.

Flanagan was dirty at several calls he claimed went against his side in their 18-10 loss to St George Illawarra - the defeat opening up the opportunity for South Sydney to jump up to fourth on the ladder should they beat Sydney Roosters on Monday night.

On the back a relentless few weeks for the men with the whistle, Flanagan said sideline officials were almost immune to criticism despite making three calls in a ten-minute stretch late in the loss to the Dragons which he claimed changed the course of the game.

The first involved a Wade Graham pass for Anthony Tupou to score which was called forward before first Ben Hornby, from a line drop-out, and then Matt Cooper, in the match-sealing try to Trent Merrin, appeared to be guilty of knock-ons.

"I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired of those types of things happening in our game," Flanagan said.

"Once again I don't think it was the two blokes in the middle - it was the two blokes on the side that called that one.

"If that didn't go forward - the Cooper one - I'm a bad judge."

Dragons coach Steve Price was definitive on how he judged the Cooper call.

"That clearly went backwards," said Price.

Flanagan didn't mince his words in highlighting the importance of the calls.

"They decide careers in the end - we're talking about coaching careers, players career, fans' seasons, top four - there's a lot that goes into it," said Flanagan.

"I know they (the referees) understand that, it's tough sometimes when you're sitting on this side of the table when you've lost a game."

Asked if he feared a refereeing error deciding a big game, Flanagan said:

"I hope not ... what's a big game, a big game's every week for me.

"Today was a big game for us, a big game for the Dragons."

The Dragons stayed two points out of the top eight with the win, and while a Rabbitohs win could drop the Sharks to fifth, another loss next week could drop them as low as eight.

"It's really important, we've been there nearly all year," Flanagan said of finishing in the top four.

"It comes down to the important part at the end of then season, we don't want to stuff it up.

"Over the next couple of weeks there's some sides above us and around us that play each other, but in the end we'll just concentrate on our own job."

The Dragons got some breathing space on Canberra, who failed tom pick up two points in a 38-26 home loss to Gold Coast, who are tied with the Raiders on 18 points.

NZ Newswire

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