Current interim NRL Head Coach Josh Hannay will remain at the Sharks to work alongside and assist incoming coach Craig Fitzgibbon after signing a new contract for the 2022 season.
Hannay began the current season as an assistant, before stepping up into the head coaching role and has since helped guide the Sharks to six wins from 12 starts and into the top eight with six matches remaining in the 2021 season.
A coach with a resume which extends beyond his current tenure at Cronulla, having worked in a similar NRL interim role at the Cowboys, as a long-time assistant at North Queensland and also in the QRL system as an Origin assistant and age group coach, Hannay was pleased to confirm he will remain in the Shire and at the Sharks next year.
“The club is in a great position to enjoy a future of sustained success and I’m looking forward to playing my part,” Hannay said.
“Moving to Cronulla to continue my coaching journey was a big move for my family and I and I’m now excited to be able to continue to work with this group of players and all the wonderful people involved with the Cronulla Sharks football club,” Hannay said.
“I look forward to working with incoming coach Craig Fitzgibbon and through the discussions we’ve had along the way, I’m more than confident Craig and I will form a strong partnership and be very much aligned with our values and views on the game.
“On a professional note, I’ve never enjoyed coaching as much as I have working with this group of players, they genuinely care for each other and the club and have an appetite to get better that makes them a joy to work with day in day out.
“I thank Dino (Mezzatesta), Chairman Steve Mace and the Board, and also Craig for showing faith in me in offering me the opportunity to continue to grow and work with this group of players,” Hannay added.
In announcing Hannay’s new coaching contract, Sharks CEO Dino Mezzatesta praised his for his efforts and commitment this season and has no doubt he will be the perfect foil to help Fitzgibbon take the Cronulla team forward next year.
“In coaching the Cowboys in similar circumstances last year, Josh isn’t foreign in having to take over the reins as a head coach and he accepted the additional responsibilities with us earlier this season without hesitation. He put the Club first in carrying out his duties without question,” Mezzatesta said.
“Since stepping up into the head coaching role Josh has been tremendous with the playing group and staff and we are delighted he will continue to be part of what the Sharks are building both in terms of our roster and more importantly the culture we are looking to create.
“He will be an outstanding ally and right-hand man for Craig Fitzgibbon next year,” he said.
As for Fitzgibbon, the man appointed to take the over at the Club next year, he was also happy to support Hannay’s appointment in anticipating a strong working relationship at the Sharks in 2022.
“It’s great news that Josh has agreed to stay on at the Sharks and be a part of the coaching team next year. He’s done an outstanding job this year to have the Sharks in finals contention coming into the back end of the season,” Fitzgibbon said.
“We’ve already had a number of conversations this year about the game in general but also in regard to the Sharks in 2022 and I look forward to working more closely with Josh from the start of next year’s pre-season.”
The finalising of Hannay's contract comes after he helped guide the Sharks to a 44 to 24 win over the Bulldogs and into seventh position on the NRL ladder.