TOWNSVILLE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 09: Sharks coach Shane Flanagan speaks at the post match media conference at the end of during the round one NRL match between the North Queensland Cowboys and the Cronulla Sharks at 1300SMILES Stadium on March 9, 2018 in Townsville, Australia. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

It has been almost 24 hours since we’ve had any coaching dramas.

I don’t think I’m the only fan who was glad to see the ridiculous will he/won’t he saga with Ivan Cleary end when he was announced officially as the Panthers coach for 2019 and beyond.

We’ve still got the even more ridiculous drama going on between Souths and the Broncos. We may not know where Bennett and Seibold will be coaching next year until after Christmas. Yes, the Broncos and Bennett have announced that he will at Red Hill in 2019, but I have a feeling there’s another twist to come.

Throw in the Benny Hill-eqsue comedy at Manly where they are currently paying two coaches despite being in financial ruin, and you have yourself one whacky coaching adventure.

So of course the one man who looked set to spend the rest of his career with his current club is reportedly on the outer and may not even survive the current off-season. OF COURSE!

Shane Flanagan, yes the same Shane Flanagan that did what legendary coaches before him could not by delivering a maiden Premiership trophy to the Shire, is under the pump.

The very same Shane Flanagan who stood on the podium with his arms raised as Up! Up! Cronulla belted out over the ANZ loud speakers while Paul Gallen lifted the trophy just over two years ago.

Absolute madness!

I’m not really in a position to go into the reasons why Flanagan is linked with an exit from the club he has been at the helm of since 2010, but it’s fair to say the reasons are not results based.

I’ll leave that speculation for those with more time to continue to look for a story that probably isn’t there, instead speculation on who might replace the title-winning coach.

Looking at the coaching stocks on the open market, which include the likes of Neil Henry, Trent Barrett, John Cartwright and Anthony Griffin, I think it’s fair to say that the Sharks are best suited to look to a younger alternative with fresher ideas.

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No disrespect to the others listed above, but I can’t see the Sharks taking on Barrett after his fall out with the Manly club and players while to say Griffin is an unlikely starter is a huge understatement.

Cartwright and Henry both have relative success to their names but are hardly bashing down the door to be appointed head coach anywhere right now.

Geoff Toovey shapes as an interesting option. I’m a fan of Tooves both as a player and a coach. Fair to say I was shocked when Manly moved him on to appoint rookie coach Trent Barrett.

Toovey handled the Manly back room politics very well and managed to get more out of minimal facilities than the man who eventually replaced him.

Brad Fittler is a name who will be linked with every vacant NRL head coaching job following his success at Origin level. Fittler is a brilliant motivator and has some interesting ideas but again didn’t light the world on fire in his previous rolls.

There has been talk of Flanagan’s current assist Jim Dymock being a real shout for the role. He’s a clever coach and has been working as an assistant for many years now. He has a five from eight win record as a head coach during his caretaker role at the Dogs and coached Tonga prior to their international rise.

The other name being thrown around from within the club is member of the coaching staff and former NYC coach John Morris.

Morris remains in supreme shape and looks in better nick than half of the NRL competition. Having played over 300 games in the top division it’s fair to say that there isn’t a lot he hasn’t seen or encountered.

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He took the NYC Sharks to a Minor Premiership and delivered the most expansive, attacking game plan you could imagine. He had the players to do so. His halfback at the time was Kyle Flanagan, a likely halves starter for the Shire club for many years to come.

Reports say that Morris may be given 2019 in a caretaker role as a live audition of sorts should the club move on from Flanagan earlier than expected.

My first instinct is to rubbish such reports and insist on Flanagan being there come round one, but in this off-season, literally nothing would surprise me.

For mine, Morris is a good shout and probably even the favourite at this stage. Sure, it’s a big punt banking on a rookie coach, but this is John Morris we’re talking about here, not some kid who has won a few games on rugby league manager.

The third option from within the club is a left field one, but one I like the look of; Dave Howlett.

Howlett would not be known to too many but he is the coach of the current Jersey Flegg team in the Shire who just happen to be current Flegg Champions. He managed to overcome a first round (in the finals) loss to lead his side to premiership glory on the final day of the season.

He has a Harold Matts premiership to his name also.

Although first grade is a very, VERY different animal to the junior grades, I’d expect to see Howlett brought up into the first grade set up if John Morris, as expected, is handed the gig.

With over three months left in this, the most ridiculous NRL off-season ever, who knows what will happen, but for mine, if Flanno is moved on, it will be to make way for John Morris.


  1. If Shane Flano is on the out, there isn’t much of the market to replace him and to be fair there isn’t much coaching roles available for him to move straight into. But I rate Shane as a coach but ultimately can see him getting cut for the shire. If that does happen I can see Kyle leaving too. It’s not like he’s likely to get any game time soon with Townsend and Johnson in the halves.

    Think if Brad Arthur doesn’t do something soon he could start a rebuild at the Eels and take his son with him. Build around King Gutho at fullback, Brown and Flano in the halves and target a nice young hooker (Liddle, Blayke Brailey, B. Smith, or Robson). Considering they have heaps of players going off contract, I’d be the perfect time to get rid of players and also free up money.

  2. I am sure Reg would happily let you have Wayne Bennett if the Sharks move Flanno on. What do you think Reg???👍👍👍
    And you could get Rusty to dress up in his Gladiator costume (might have to let it out a bit now though) and give Bunny supporters a 👎 on letting Wayne come to Souths. 😂😂😂😂

    • Bennett for Broncos assistant coach Jason Demetriou? Absolutely! Where do I sign? Bennett for a worn out piece of bogan “Flanno” tainted by last nights “peptide c0cktail”? Pass!!! Even Bennett is a better option than that. Papa Smurf can’t stomach “c0cktails” of any sort and at least there is always the hope that he might not see out his contract which could outlast him!

      • Didn’t mean that you guys would get Flanno, just trying to get Benny to go elsewhere rather than your Rabbits.👍👍👍
        Not sure what you think of giving Toovey a go at Souths? I absolutely despised him as a player, but think he still has a lot to offer as a coach.

        • If only Toovey could channel the same passion into Souths that he did for Manly he would definitely be an option although at present Demetriou is my clear first choice.

          I was the first Rabbitohs supporter here to throw out his name as a preferred option weeks ago. I also have promoted Demetriou as a sound option for both the Sea Eagles and the Tigers long before there was any thought of Seibold leaving Souths. Long before that I even suggested to pedro that Demetriou should be promoted to head coach of the Dragons from the coach of the Illawarra Cutters replacing McGregor. This was BEFORE the Broncos snapped him up as assistant coach.

          So yes, I have been a fan of Jason Demetriou for some time now when I first saw what he did with the Illawarra Cutters.

    • “you could get Rusty to dress up in his Gladiator costume… and give Bunny supporters a 👎 on letting Wayne come to Souths.”

      Alea iacta est, dreaglor. “The die is cast” and “the blue Caesar” will cross the Rubicon river and into Redfern at some point. Of that I have no doubt, sadly.

      • Don’t fret Reg, you know that when Bennett gets to the Rabbits it won’t be for a long time………….or will it?😀😀
        I know we have been taking the p#ss about Wayne to the Rabbits, but I actually think the Bunnies roster will suit him in that you have a lot of seasoned competitors in the squad and for the 2 years he is there, he might just jag you another premiership.

        • My first concern is that we don’t haemorrhage players like Cook, Inglis or any of the Burgess brothers as a result of this. I also am worried about Souths losing juniors like AJ, Murray, Graham or Reynolds in order to make room for Bennett’s handpicked “Hotlist”.

          What worries me dreaglor (and should excite you and the Broncos faithful) is when you look at both teams performances in 2018 where Souths were ranked 1st with the best attack in the NRL with the 4th best defensive record, while the Broncos were ranked 3rd in attack with the 10th best defensive record. Even the 12th placed Bulldogs had a better defensive record than the Broncos who also lost their last game at home to the Dragons by 30 points!

          Those results do not inspire a lot of confidence mate and if defence is meant to win premierships then Bennett’s “Swiss cheese defensive style” is not going to get Souths their 22nd premiership. I’m very nervous to tell the truth dreaglor. If Papa Smurf brings his “Swiss cheese defensive style” to Redfern Souths will need to fix holes in their defensive wall FAST and if Wayne’s idea of how to achieve this is to bring several tubs of Selleys Spakfilla Rapid then we are in REAL trouble!

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