Barrett is on the highest of a shortlist that additionally contains St Helens mentor Justin Holbrook and one other Australian plying his commerce within the Tremendous League, former Dragons head coach Steve Worth. Worth has beforehand coached on the Sharks as an assistant, whereas Holbrook has made an impression right here and abroad after additionally transitioning from the taking part in to teaching ranks.
Nevertheless, Barrett is taken into account the early favorite if Flanagan is prevented from seeing out the final 12 months of his contract. The previous NSW and Australian five-eighth spent two seasons within the Sutherland Shire, making 36 of his 295 NRL appearances within the black, white and blue. The 41-year-old is managed by Wayne Beavis, the identical agent who takes care of Flanagan.
Former premiership-winning Shark Luke Lewis backed John Morris to take over if a brand new coach is required. Morris took the Sharks NYC group to the minor premiership in 2017 earlier than he got here on board as a Flanagan assistant final 12 months. Whereas a giant fan of established assistant Jim Dymock, as effectively Worth, Lewis declared Morris greater than prepared.
“He is aware of the sport just like the again of his hand, he is very sensible and he is aware of the boys rather well,” Lewis informed the Herald.
“He is aware of the values we’re about, he is aware of the sport plan, he’d be the right man for the job.
“He additionally has an excellent working relationship with Jim Dymock.
“He is prepared for it. He is been within the Below-20s system, he is been within the first-grade system, he is performed first grade, he is aware of what it takes to be at your finest, he loves footy and understands the boys.
“If the chance got here he is take it with each palms and shine.”
One other Cronulla favorite, Bryce Gibbs, backed Morris and mentioned on social media: “Flanagan gone? Herald John Morris for the yr, the bloke is an excellent coach sooner or later!”
Flanagan was solely allowed to return to the sport on the proviso he didn’t breach the phrases of his suspension over the dietary supplements scandal. Nevertheless, the NRL integrity unit, throughout the course of its probe into wage cap irregularities, has allegedly discovered proof of him making contact with membership officers over issues reminiscent of recruitment and retention.
It means the Sharks face the prospect of coughing up the $400,000 that was suspended from their authentic $1 million nice.
Russell refused to purchase into hypothesis over Flanagan’s future, saying he would proceed within the function.
“What I can say is that Shane Flanagan is our coach, he’s contracted for 2019, he’s carried out a beautiful job and he’ll proceed to educate the group,” Russell mentioned.
“It will likely be coaching and enterprise as typical for us.
“I’ve met with the gamers in the present day, I’ve met with the employees in the present day and I’ve relayed this similar message. It’s essential to remain centered on our preparation subsequent 12 months as a group and in addition importantly for us employees off the sector to maintain centered and work as laborious as we are able to to safe main sponsors for our jersey.”
Former Sharks CEO Steve Noyce, who was in cost when Flanagan was alleged to have been involved with senior membership officers whereas banned, declined to remark.
If cash-strapped Cronulla did take a punt on a first-time coach like Morris, they might not be anticipated to fork out huge cash for a longtime operator like Barrett and even Worth.
Worth took up the top teaching function at Warrington and has a 12 months remaining on his Tremendous League deal. Dymock joined Cronulla final 12 months after he missed out on the Bulldogs prime job to former teammate Dean Pay.
Adrian Proszenko is the Chief Rugby League Reporter for the Sydney Morning Herald.
Christian covers rugby league for The Sydney Morning Herald.