Sport Craig Fitzgibbon to coach Cronulla Sharks from 2022, John Morris departs immediately

13:40  13 april  2021
13:40  13 april  2021 Source:   sportingnews.com

'Disgusted' mum of axed NRL coach lashes out at 'deceitful liars'

  'Disgusted' mum of axed NRL coach lashes out at 'deceitful liars' The mother of a sacked NRL coach has posted an emotional defence of her son, saying she's 'disgusted' with the club who have acted as 'deceitful liars'.John Morris, who played 300 games in his rugby league career, was told Tuesday he was axed as coach of Cronulla Sharks after the club signed Sydney Roosters assistant Craig Fitzgibbon for the role from the 2022 season onwards.

Roosters assistant Craig Fitzgibbon will take over as Cronulla coach following the end of the season, having signed a three-year deal with the Sharks.

Multiple sources confirmed the widely reported agreement with Fitzgibbon on Tuesday, leaving current Cronulla coach John Morris without a job for next season.

Sharks bosses made the play for Fitzgibbon with Morris out of contract at the end of the season, reportedly under the impression the current coach didn't hold sway in negotiations with potential recruits.

The decision to not back Morris has been met with significant criticism, particularly from Cronulla fans believing the coach had done a good job in difficult circumstances since taking over ahead of the 2019 season.

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.

Cronulla has finished in the top eight in both of Morris' seasons in charge despite dealing with salary cap dramas and roster issues.

Morris will now leave the club immediately, with Josh Hannay to take over in an interim role.

The Sharks confirmed Fitzgibbon's appointment and Morris' departure in a statement on Tuesday.

"This decision was certainly not lightly taken, much discussion and consideration took place at board and management level before Craig was approached and now appointed, and we are thrilled he has accepted the position," CEO Dino Mezzatesta said, before thanking Morris for his contribution.

"As coach John has brought through a number of promising youngsters to where they are now performing at an NRL level, his work ethic can’t be questioned and there is little doubt he has a bright future as a coach in the NRL. We certainly wish him future success.

Craig Fitzgibbon set to be joined by Cameron Ciraldo at Cronulla Sharks, report

  Craig Fitzgibbon set to be joined by Cameron Ciraldo at Cronulla Sharks, report Craig Fitzgibbon set to be joined by Cameron Ciraldo at Cronulla Sharks, reportThe Sharks have reportedly decided to part ways with John Morris, opting for Fitzgibbon in his place, with reports claiming former Cronulla player Ciraldo will join him.

"The decision made by the club was an extremely difficult one however we now back the appointment of Craig, look forward to the future and to him taking the team to the next level in delivering success in 2022 and beyond."

Fitzgibbon, 43, has been working as an assistant to three-time premiership-winning coach Trent Robinson and is considered one of the premier assistant coaches in the competition.

The Roosters have reportedly been given assurances Fitzgibbon will see out the remainder of the season with the club.

It will be the first full-time head coaching gig for the former Steelers, Dragons and Roosters backrower, though he did take charge of NSW Country during the final two years of its existence.

On Monday, the Daily Telegraph reported Fitzgibbon would possibly be joined at the Sharks by senior Penrith assistant Cameron Ciraldo in a double act they hope will return them to premiership contention.

'Ripple effects' of ugly Morris axing beginning to appear at Sharks amid Chad Townsend exit rumours

  'Ripple effects' of ugly Morris axing beginning to appear at Sharks amid Chad Townsend exit rumours 'Ripple effects' of ugly Morris axing beginning to appear at Sharks amid Chad Townsend exit rumoursSharks halfback Chad Townsend's rumoured switch to the Cowboys comes less than a week after Cronulla announced it had decided to immediately part ways with Morris amidst the appointment of Craig Fitzgibbon as head coach for next season.


It has been suggested in reports of varying legitimacy that the reason that Morris was off with the decision makers at Cronulla was his inability to recruit stars.

However, Morris has an ally in the man he replaced; Shane Flanagan.

"You’ve got to get a bit of luck and to be honest, I feel a bit sorry for John Morris because the club hasn’t told us why they’re getting rid of him," Flanagan told Triple M.

"They keep trotting out the excuse that they want to be a top-four club and John can’t attract the players to the club that they need to. I don’t cop that. I want to know why they are going to get rid of him.

"They might not have won semi-finals, for me I keep coming back to that point – why are they going to get rid of him?

"I just don’t understand. If they are going with Craig Fitzgibbon, they’re going in with another coach who has been around a bit and understands what needs to be done at NRL level but he hasn’t been a first-grade coach.

"Once you’re in that seat, everything changes and you need to get results straight away.

"If the Sharks say they want to be a top-four side and attract players to the club, then he’s going to be in the spotlight straight away."

Fitzgibbon knows not to poach Roosters

  Fitzgibbon knows not to poach Roosters Craig Fitzgibbon has half of Cronulla's roster spots open as he starts planning for 2022, but Trent Robinson says players won't follow from the Sydney Roosters.Fitzgibbon was back at work as an assistant with the Roosters on Thursday, but will have the luxury of 15 unfilled spots in his top 30 for next season.

No one knows an abrupt end to the honeymoon period like an NRL coach.

(exception: reality TV stars.)


Sharks powerbrokers, particularly Mezzatesta and chairman Steve Mace, won't be afforded much patience given the ugly way the saga has played out in recent weeks.

Unsurprisingly, Morris has opted to depart the club immediately rather than keep the seat warm for his successor.

Cronulla players were texted on Tuesday evening to inform them Morris had coached his last game at the club, with Hannay, the man who stepped into a caretaker role at the Cowboys following Paul Green's departure last season, to take over.

Dave Howlett is also a current assistant coach, while Daniel Holdsworth is in charge of the club's Jersey Flegg side.


By turfing out the popular Morris, Cronulla are risking getting some players offside.

A host of Sharks are due to come off contract at the end of the season, but with many on big coin, it could kick off a major roster reshuffle.

Shaun Johnson, Josh Dugan, Matt Moylan and Aaron Woods are all on sizeable contracts and it will be interesting to see how things play out there.

Off-contract Sharks:

Josh Dugan

Mawene Hiroti

Shaun Johnson

Will Kennedy

Nene Macdonald

Billy Magoulias

Matt Moylan

Kyle Patterson

Toby Rudolf

Siosifa Talakai

Aiden Tolman

Chad Townsend (2 year player option)

Connor Tracey

Braydon Trindall

Aaron Woods

Roosters v Sharks: John Morris laments 'diabolical' last 20 minutes that cost Cronulla a much-needed victory .
Roosters v Sharks: John Morris laments 'diabolical' last 20 minutes that cost Cronulla a much-needed victoryIt was the question put to Cronulla Sharks coach John Morris moments after his side blew an 18-4 lead to the Sydney Roosters to lose 26-18 at the SCG on Saturday night.

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