Former 300-game NRL player and current Interim Coach John Morris has been appointed Sharks Head Coach ahead of the kick off to the upcoming season.

Morris, who played 105 NRL games in five years at Cronulla, will now guide the Sharks into 2019 and beyond after signing a three-year deal.

Sharks Football Club CEO Barry Russell was a strong advocate for Morris, having been highly impressed with his ability, attitude and work ethic since taking the reins as Interim NRL coach on January 3.

“John is very deserving of this opportunity and I’m thrilled for him,” Russell said. “He was instrumental in setting up our successful Elite Academy and junior pathways and has been a big part of our club, from his playing days to now coaching, for going on 10 years.

“The last five weeks John has really stepped up in an Interim role, he has the support of the playing group and I wish him every success this season and in the years to come.”

After retiring from the game due to a neck injury midway 2014, Morris channelled his energies into coaching, designing and implementing successful pathway programs at the Club, before coaching the Sharks Holden Cup side for two years.

The under 20 Sharks played finals football in both seasons while under his control, winning the minor premiership in 2017, with Morris in his role as Elite Academy and Development coach also instrumental in the National Championship victories claimed by the Under 16’s and Under 18’s Sharks teams in 2015.  

Adding to his NRL record and coaching resume, Morris completed a Batchelor of PDHPE during his playing days and has since studied and completed a Masters of Coaching at Sydney University, leaving him well equipped and ready for what lies ahead.

“I’ll certainly be working hard to repay the faith the Club has shown in me,” Morris said. “It was a dream for me to play 100 games here at the Sharks, and now I have this outstanding opportunity to lead a Club I am extremely passionate about. It is a huge honour for me. 

“We have a great roster, the players have been very supportive and we’re excited about the season ahead.”

Assistant NRL Coach Jim Dymock will continue in his role, with an announcement soon to be made in relation to further appointments to Morris’s support staff. 

Morris and the NRL squad will continue preparations ahead of their first trial match of 2019, with the Sharks to play the Manly Sea Eagles at Brookvale Oval on February 23.

The Sharks have a further trial in Maitland against the Knights, before they travel to Newcastle for their round one clash on March 15.