MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 21: Sharks coach Shane Flanagan watches his team warm up during the NRL Preliminary Final match between the Melbourne Storm and the Cronulla Sharks at AAMI Park on September 21, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Shane Flanagan could return to head coaching in 2021, reports Fox Sports. 

Flanagan is enjoying high praise among the St George Illawarra playing group in his role as an assistant coach.

He is tipped to be given the green light to take on head coaching role from next season.

The noise of his potential coaching return is bad news for current coach Paul McGregor, who already has lost much of his power at the Dragons.

Pressure continues to build on McGregor as he was forced to adopt a four-man selection committee to pick his club’s best side each week.

Flanagan was deregistered indefinitely at the end of 2018 after being found to have broken the terms of his 12-month ban in 2014 over the Sharks peptides scandal.

T🤔he Dragons assistant coach has the backing of high-profile and influential figures in Sydney and successfully campaigned to have his indefinite ban reduced.

The NRL allowed him to return as an assistant coach this year with a caveat stating he could not be a head coach until 2022.

But after the NRL showed flexibility in the rules for Sonny Bill Williams, Ricky Leutele and Joseph Suaalii, expect Flangan to push for an early release on his caveat.