Cronulla Sharks coach Shane Flanagan is facing suspension from the game.
Cronulla Sharks coach Shane Flanagan is facing suspension from the game.

Greenberg to decide Flanagan’s fate

Shane Flanagan's proud coaching career hangs on the decision of just one man - NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg.

The NRL integrity unit has investigated the Cronulla coach and the ARL Commission will approve any punishment.

But the length and severity of any possible suspension for Flanagan will be made solely by Greenberg.

On Tuesday, Greenberg will front an ARL Commission meeting to discuss possible sanctions against Flanagan, who has been accused of breaking a strict NRL edit while suspended over Cronulla's peptides scandal in 2014.

It will be alleged Flanagan ignored NRL rules by communicating with club officials and players during his 12-month ban.

The Daily Telegraph understands the integrity unit will provide the relevant facts and information to Greenberg, who will then propose a recommendation to the ARLC.

It seems unlikely commissioners would reject any penalty Greenberg implements.

The ARL commissioners are expected to pepper Greenberg with questions before supporting any recommendation.

 

Will Greenberg decide to go hard line? (AAP Image/Glenn Hunt)
Will Greenberg decide to go hard line? (AAP Image/Glenn Hunt)

 

The Daily Telegraph has been told Flanagan can expect to be issued with another suspension, possibly up to 12 months, maybe more.

It would be a cruel blow to Flanagan and the Sharks, who are already under heavy financial pressure.

Greenberg may also opt to exonerate Flanagan of any wrongdoing.

Assuming the commissioners are comfortable with any disciplinary measure proposed by Greenberg, the NRL chief executive would likely front the media on Wednesday to announce Flanagan's penalty.

Should he be suspended, former Cronulla player and current assistant coach John Morris would be favourite to take over next season.

Morris has a strong relationship with the Sharks players.

 

John Morris would be ready to step in for Flanagan. (Mark Evans)
John Morris would be ready to step in for Flanagan. (Mark Evans)

 

If action was approved, Flanagan would likely be issued with a breach notice and asked to explain within an allotted time frame why he shouldn't be suspended.

The drama surrounding Flanagan arose after emails were secured from Cronulla's internet server as part of an NRL investigation into possible salary cap indiscretions.

Flanagan continues to remain silent on the matter.

He has told friends the conversations with officials were about player contracts for the following season, 2015, and he did not instigate any phone calls.

Flanagan was free to return as head coach for the 2015 season.

There are some NRL heavy hitters who claim Flanagan would not have been permitted to return from his original ban had they known he had been communicating with Sharks officials.

 

Life doesn’t get any easier for Cronulla. (AAP Image/Brendan Esposito)
Life doesn’t get any easier for Cronulla. (AAP Image/Brendan Esposito)

 

Should Flanagan be found guilty, Cronulla may also be forced to pay $400,000 - part of an NRL sanctioned fine that was suspended during 2014.

The controversy comes just over two years after Flanagan famously guided Cronulla to the NRL premiership.

Cronulla publicly announced last week Flanagan had a deal at Shark Park for next year and would be fulfilling that contract.

The club's salary cap investigation, which is separate to Flanagan's probe, should be resolved early in the New Year.

Tuesday will be the ARLC's final meeting for 2018.

 

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