John Morris set to get Sharks job

John Morris is reportedly set to be appointed as the Sharks head coach for the 2019 NRL season.
John Morris is reportedly set to be appointed as the Sharks head coach for the 2019 NRL season.

John Morris is expected to be unveiled as Cronulla's new head coach on Friday after seemingly winning the race to replace Shane Flanagan.

It's believed that Morris is in the midst of finalising the deal, beating out the likes of Penrith assistant Cameron Ciraldo and St Helens' Justin Holbrook for the coveted job.

It marks a rapid rise for the 300-gamer and ex-Sharks utility after serving a four-year apprenticeship in the club's lower grades.

Morris took over the role in an interim capacity in December after Flanagan was deregistered by the NRL for flouting a 2014 ban for his part in the club's peptides scandal.

After stints at Newcastle, Parramatta, Wests Tigers and Sharks, Morris hung up his boots at the end of 2014 before being appointed the head of the Sharks' high performance unit and academy.

He enjoyed immediate success, contributing to the club winning the 2015 under-18 and under-16s titles.

He took over the club's under-20s side the year after and in 2017 was named the national youth competition coach of the year.

He has received ringing endorsements from former and current Sharks players and from the outset has been heavily backed to step up to the NRL coaching ranks.

Flanagan had initially been given until Thursday to respond to the NRL's charges, however he now has a week's extension to submit his reply.

The NRL remained tight-lipped about any possible sanctions given Flanagan is entitled to a right of response and any submission will be taken into account when determining a punishment.

Under one option open to NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg, Flanagan could be banned for a set period of time.

Or he could banish Flanagan indefinitely, in which case the premiership-winning coach would have to apply to the NRL should he wish to re-enter the game down the track.

It's expected any determination will take several weeks to be handed down.

Flanagan was banned, and the Sharks were fined $800,000, after it was found that he contravened his 12-month ban by communicating via email with club officials.

Australian Associated Press