Cronulla Sharks coach John Morris. Picture: Dylan Robinson
Cronulla Sharks coach John Morris. Picture: Dylan Robinson

Sharks on verge of naming new coach

The Cronulla Sharks' search for a replacement for Shane Flanagan is over with caretaker coach John Morris on the verge of being appointed to the role full-time.

Morris was endorsed by the Sharks directors at a board meeting on Wednesday night, beating Penrith Panthers assistant Cameron Ciraldo for the job.

The only sticking point is the length of the contract, which parties were still negotiating on Thursday afternoon.

His appointment is likely to be announced at a press conference on Friday.

 

John Morris has won the race for the Cronulla Sharks job. Picture: Toby Zerna
John Morris has won the race for the Cronulla Sharks job. Picture: Toby Zerna

Morris took over earlier this month as interim head coach when Flanagan was stood down by NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg after an integrity unit investigation revealed he had regularly exchanged emails with club officials while he was supposed to be suspended in 2014.

Morris' appointment will be widely applauded by Sharks fans and players.

The 38-year-old played 300 NRL games, 105 of them for the Sharks.

Morris completed a Masters of Coaching degree in 2014 before becoming the elite development coach of the Sharks Academy in 2015 and taking over as the club's Holden Cup coach in 2016.

 

John Morris played 105 matches for Cronulla during his 300-game NRL career. Picture: Brett Costello
John Morris played 105 matches for Cronulla during his 300-game NRL career. Picture: Brett Costello

 

He took the Sharks NYC team to the minor premiership in 2017 in just his second season of full-time coaching and was named the 2017 NYC Coach of the Year.

Cronulla players have publicly supported Morris since he started in the caretaker role.

Skipper Paul Gallen said: "He (Morris) hasn't missed a beat at training and the attitude of the players around him has been really good."

Morris' biggest challenge will be controlling the likes of front-rower Andrew Fifita and centre Josh Dugan.