Shane Flanagan eyes long stay as Cronulla Sharks coach as coaching merry-go-round continues

On the bus: Sharks coach Shane Flanagan wants to remain at Cronulla for the long haul. Picture: Chris Lane
On the bus: Sharks coach Shane Flanagan wants to remain at Cronulla for the long haul. Picture: Chris Lane

While the NRL coaching merry-go-round is in full swing, Sharks coach Shane Flanagan is adamant he doesn’t want to join the queue to go on the ride.

Cronulla’s 2016 premiership-winning coach is under contract with the club until the end of the 2019 season.

But a number of coaches have either already left their post or are under pressure, leading to speculation as to who will be coaching where in the near future. 

Penrith parted ways with coach Anthony Griffin earlier this month, with speculation mounting that Trent Barrett won’t see out the end of his contract with struggling Manly.

There have also been question marks around the long-term futures of Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett and Anthony Seibold at South Sydney. 

Flanagan is already Cronulla’s longest serving coach having delivered their historic maiden title and is keen to extend his stay in the shire.

Not only has he built a strong NRL roster capable of competing for another premiership, Flanagan has overseen Cronulla’s enviable next generation.

And the 52-year-old wants to continue to build a dynasty at the club.

“I just think myself [and] all the people involved in the club over the last four or five years have worked so hard to get the club to what it is at the moment,” he said.

“We’re a top four, semi-final team year in year out. And I want to be that club. We’ve built it to where we are the moment but there’s still a lot of work to be done. 

“I think we’ve got the foundations built and the next bit is really exciting and I want to be a part of that. A lot of people have put a lot of hard work into the place and I think the future looks really bright for the club and I want to be part of that. 

“A lot of things have been put in place and [I’m] proud of what they’ve done. So I want to hang around. The club is in a really good position.”

A second premiership in the last three years is also not out of the question.

With Cronulla in sixth place on the NRL table with three rounds remaining, the Sharks are circling just two points outside the top four with a favourable run home that includes clashes with wooden spoon battlers North Queensland and Canterbury and a home match with struggling Newcastle.

“We’re definitely capable of it. You need a lot of things to go right between now and the end of the season,” Flanagan said. 

“But we’ve definitely got the things in place, right mix of some older and some younger players in the squad. We can defend when we need to, we can attack if we have to. So I think we’ve got the right mix.

“But you need a little bit of luck between now and the end of the season. And no bad luck, especially with injuries. We’re in a good position and we’re in control of our own destiny at the moment but we’ve got to work hard and continue to do that for the last few games.

“It’s a new ball game, the semi-final series. We saw that in ‘16, we went down to Canberra and that game was in the balance and we were lucky enough to win that. That was probably the turning point in us winning the grand final.”