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Sport John Morris hard done by amid reports Sharks are targeting Craig Fitzgibbon, says Michael Ennis

22:32  10 april  2021
22:32  10 april  2021 Source:   sportingnews.com

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Ex-Cronulla hooker Michael Ennis has defended John Morris amid reports the Sharks have already begun their search to replace the third-year head coach in 2022.

According to News Corp Australia journalist Phil Rothfield , The Shire Club recently made an approach to Sydney Roosters assistant coach Craig Fitzgibbon.

The 43-year-old last year turned down the St George Illawarra job to stay loyal to the Roosters and see out the final season of his contract.

Fitzgibbon has taken a patient approach to his inevitable rise to a head coaching role but is understood to be ready to take charge of an NRL club.

MORE: Morris laments 'diabolical' collapse against the Roosters

Roosters v Sharks: John Morris laments 'diabolical' last 20 minutes that cost Cronulla a much-needed victory

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Ennis did not dispute Fitzgibbon’s credentials but believes Morris has done an admirable job in trying cricumstances since taking over from Shane Flanagan in 2019.

“What John’s been able to do through a tough period, be it the salary cap, injuries or the form of high-profile players,” Ennis told Fox League.

“It’s been a challenge to knock over those top sides and tonight was another example of that (after the Roosters beat the Sharks 26-18).

“… But he’s done a tremendous job John, he’s done a terrific job there.”

But Ennis, a member of the Sharks’ 2016 premiership-winning squad, concedes the Shire Club are at a crossroads, with a number of key players coming off contract.

“It’s a really important time for Cronulla,” Ennis said.

“There was a period there from 2015-17 where they were a top-four side.

Fitzgibbon agrees to coach Sharks in 2022

  Fitzgibbon agrees to coach Sharks in 2022 Sydney Roosters assistant coach Craig Fitzgibbon has all but agreed to coach the Cronulla Sharks in 2022. The Sydney Morning reports Fitzgibbon has notified the Roosters of his plans to take up the helm at Cronulla next season, pending a commitment from the Sharks in regards to his coaching staff.It is believed Fitzgibbon wants full autonomy over who will make up his support staff before putting pen to paper on a deal worth between $1.5m-$1.8m over three years.The former NSW star rejected the chance to coach St George Illawarra last year but he is off-contract this year and is tipped to go.

“They obviously won the premiership in 2016 but in recent years, whether it’s been that salary cap or injuries to high-profile players, to me they just haven’t been the same Cronulla side.”

Ex-Storm and Roosters half-back Cooper Cronk agreed Morris has made the best out of difficult circumstances at Cronulla but said the Sharks will need to move quickly to secure Fitzgibbon’s signature.

“I think the other thing too is there’ll probably be a few other clubs looking for a new coach at some stage and those two guys (Fitzgibbon and Penrith assistant Cameron Ciraldo) are the top two guys that keep getting tossed around so if you wait too long,” Cronk told Fox League.

“Look I think from John’s position I think he’s done a tremendous job with the issues that he’s had.

“… There’s a lot of players who are on a lot of money that probably haven’t lived up to the expectation.

“I think the other thing too, for John Morris the noise would be deafening.

“He hasn’t heard much (from Sharks management) and he’s been asking for an extension for a long time, so that leaves the indication that they’re probably leaning another way.”

Craig Fitzgibbon to meet with Chad Townsend over Sharks halfback's rumoured Cowboys interest .
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