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Master Shark: Cronulla’s left-field coaching contender

Former Wallabies coach Eddie Jones has been mentioned as a shock successor to Cronulla coach John Morris, whose job at the Sharks has surprisingly come under pressure in recent weeks.

The fact Jones is being mentioned will shock Morris as much as the news itself that influences around the club are having a quiet look at alternatives.

Jones has long believed he could coach in the NRL and keeps a keen eye on developments.

Current England rugby coach Eddie Jones has always believed he could coach in the NRL. Picture: David Rogers/Getty
Current England rugby coach Eddie Jones has always believed he could coach in the NRL. Picture: David Rogers/Getty

As the world shut down during the COVID-19 crisis Jones watched the changes the NRL introduced to make the game more appealing and quickly appealed to the rugby hierarchy to have a similar look at reinvigorating their game.

Jones is contracted to coach England through to the Rugby World Cup in France in 2023.

But as we've seen so often, contracts don't mean much in the modern sporting world.

The idea of a rugby coach being a success in the NRL is not as far-fetched as it once seemed.

Jones has a close relationship with recent Wallaby coach Michael Cheika who is now working at the Sydney Roosters and receiving rave reviews.

Sharks coach John Morris is contacted until the end of 2021. Picture: AAP/Dean Lewins
Sharks coach John Morris is contacted until the end of 2021. Picture: AAP/Dean Lewins

Jones believes he could oversee a program, knowing what he does about coaching, with the modern practice of hiring several assistants key to helping him get through the technical aspects of the game.

It's another hurdle for Morris, who has done an admirable job after inheriting a roster that was about to go on a difficult salary cap run with several players on costly, long-term contracts putting pressure on the club's recruitment and retention, but continues to face pressure.

Other names to be mentioned are North Queensland Cowboys Paul Green, a premiership winning coach and former Sharks grand finalist, and Warrington coach Steve Price, who briefly worked in an assistants' role at the club.

 

Paul Gallen (L) with Sharks coach John Morris. Picture: Matt Blyth/Getty
Paul Gallen (L) with Sharks coach John Morris. Picture: Matt Blyth/Getty

 

SHARKS FUME OVER GAL COMPO

Cronulla officials are privately seething about details of Paul Gallen's confidential compensation payout being leaked - but have swiftly shut the door on the potential for other players to demand a payout.

 

While Gallen was compensated a high six-figure sum in the wake of the Cronulla peptides scandal, insiders deny it was as high as $700,000, but you could probably see it from there, telling the club he was prepared to pursue legal action if compensation was not awarded.

To avoid a lawsuit - which could have been catastrophic under the privilege of court - the Sharks negotiated a deal with Gallen.

Some former teammates of Gallen, who retired last year, were shocked to learn he was compensated and wondered whether they, too, were entitled to a payout.

Payouts to all 15 players suspended in the wake of the scandal would potentially leave the Sharks on the financial brink.

However insiders say the "sunset date" has expired, meaning any players considering legal action as a possibility in the wake of Gallen's payout have left it too late.

Not one player has approached chief executive Dino Mezzatesta or any of the board members since the story was leaked.

 

 

 

Originally published as Master Shark: Cronulla's left-field coaching contender



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