The Sharks can announce they have secured the services of Craig Fitzgibbon as Head Coach of the Cronulla club for the 2022 season.
Fitzgibbon, the NSW State of Origin and current Sydney Roosters assistant coach, has today agreed to terms on a three-year deal. He will assume the Sharks head coaching role beginning on November 1.
Following the announcement of Fitzgibbon’s appointment, John Morris will no longer coach the team, effective immediately, with current assistant coach Josh Hannay to take over the head coaching role on an interim basis for the remainder of the 2021 season.
“This decision was certainly not lightly taken, much discussion and consideration took place at Board and Management level before Craig was approached and now appointed, and we are thrilled he has accepted the position,” Sharks CEO Dino Mezzatesta said.
“Craig has served a long and successful apprenticeship under Trent Robinson at the Roosters and alongside Brad Fittler at a State level and we are confident he can emulate that success as a head coach here at the Sharks.
“However, in announcing the appointment, we need to acknowledge the contribution John Morris has made at the Cronulla club as a player, development and 20’s coach, NRL assistant, and as our head coach in 2019-2020 and to this point in our 2021 season.
“As coach John has brought through a number of promising youngsters to where they are now performing at an NRL level, his work ethic can’t be questioned and there is little doubt he has a bright future as a coach in the NRL. We certainly wish him future success.
“The decision made by the Club was an extremely difficult one however we now back the appointment of Craig, look forward to the future and to him taking the team to the next level in delivering success in 2022 and beyond,” Mezzatesta added.
Fitzgibbon enjoyed a celebrated 264-game career in the NRL, one which included a premiership at the Roosters in 2002 where he was awarded the Clive Churchill Medal in his teams’ win over the Warriors. He also played 19 Tests for Australia and 11 Origin matches for NSW, retiring from the NRL in 2009 before then spending two years at Hull in the UK SuperLeague.
Returning to Australia in 2012, Fitzgibbon joined the Roosters coaching staff, was NSW Country coach in 2016 and 2017 and has also been a member of the NSW Origin coaching set up for the last three years.
The Sharks acknowledge the role Fitzgibbon will continue to perform at the Roosters for the remainder of the current season and with respect to that role, and similarly in relation to John Morris's departure with details yet to be finalised, will make no further public comment.
The Board and Management will now join members and fans in throwing their support behind Josh Hannay, the NRL coaching and high-performance staff and the playing group for the rest of the 2021 season, beginning with the game against Newcastle on Friday night as they look towards a bright and successful future.