Former Cronulla Sharks premiership-winning coach Shane Flanagan banned from becoming a head coach until 2022

Decision: The NRL has told former Sharks coach Shane Flanagan he will not be eligible to work as a head coach until 2022. Picture: John Veage
Decision: The NRL has told former Sharks coach Shane Flanagan he will not be eligible to work as a head coach until 2022. Picture: John Veage

Former Sharks premiership-winning coach Shane Flanagan will not be allowed to return to a head coaching role in the NRL until 2022 at the earliest, the governing body has announced.

Flanagan met with NRL CEO Todd Greenberg on Friday, with a path to return to a head coaching role laid out.

Flanagan, who led Cronulla to their maiden premiership in 2016, will be allowed to become an assistant coach starting next season. But he will not be registered as a head coach for a further two seasons and said in a statement he would consider his options over the next few months.

"Today I met with the NRL and I both respect and accept the course of action they have taken,'' Flanagan said.

"I look forward to returning to the coaching ranks, firstly as an assistant coach and hopefully one day a head coach again."

Flanagan resigned as the club's head coach in January after the NRL had deregistered him the previous month and fined the Sharks $800,000. The governing body found Flanagan had breached the terms of his 12-month suspension in 2014 for his role in the club's peptides scandal due to his communications with the club that year.

John Morris, who was an assistant coach under Flanagan, was named interim head coach before taking the role full time.

Flanagan arrived at the Sharks as an assistant coach in 2007 before he was promoted to head coach towards the end of 2010, eventually leading Cronulla to the 2016 title.

The NRL have told Flanagan they will not expedite his return to a coaching role other than their ruling on Friday.

"I have spoken to Shane at length and he has expressed significant remorse and accepted responsibility for his past actions and the detrimental impact they have had on the game,'' Greenberg said.

"We have created a pathway for Shane to return to the coaching ranks. Today's decision gives Shane an opportunity to be registered in the NRL.

"This is not a set and forget approach. Shane and any future club who employs him has numerous conditions which they must comply with and the Integrity Unit will continue to monitor his conduct over the next two seasons."

Flanagan's registration is contingent on he and any future employer complying with a range of conditions set by the NRL. His eligibility for registration will commence on December 18, meaning he could take up an assistant coaching role from next season.

Flanagan, who was also named coach of Cronulla's team of the half century, said at the time the decision to resign as Sharks coach in January was one of the toughest of his 36-year career in rugby league.

Meanwhile, Cronulla assistant coach Jim Dymock will leave the Sharks to join new Titans coach Justin Holbrook's staff on the Gold Coast. Dymock will become senior assistant coach as the Titans look to rebuild after a horror 2020.

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