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Coach to miss Sharks season opener

Head Coach Craig Fitzgibbon won’t make the trip to Canberra on Friday for his first game in charge of the Sharks after testing positive to a Covid RAT earlier this week.

Fitzgibbon likely contracted Covid from a family member and following his quarantine period will be back on deck well in advance of the Sharks second round game against the Eels at PointsBet Stadium.

While the bulk of preparations have been put in place ahead of the Sharks season opening match, Fitzgibbon has experienced assistants in Steve Price, Josh Hannay and Daniel Holdsworth on board to oversee match day responsibilities and the team’s final training sessions.

“After a carefully planned pre-season, most of the preparations are complete and we have three more than capable coaches to take care of the group for a couple of days. Steve, Josh and DJ will relay the final instructions and get the boys ready for Canberra on Friday,” Fitzgibbon said.

“Obviously the timing of this isn’t ideal, you can take all the precautions as I have in following NRL apollo advice and protocols, but with four children at home unfortunately it has caught up with our family at an inopportune time.

“My health is fine and symptoms mild, I look forward to getting back amongst the group next week and I will be in constant communications with the coaches and players,” he added.

Price and Hannay will share game day coaching duties and media responsibilities, while Holdsworth as the third fulltime member of the NRL coaching staff acts as the Sharks on-field blue shirt trainer.

A member of the premiership-winning Sharks coaching staff in 2016, Price has returned to the Cronulla club after a successful stint in charge of Warrington in the UK Super League, while Hannay capably took over the reins as interim NRL coach at the Sharks during the 2021 season.

Fitzgibbon will conduct his weekly coach media session via Teams video conferencing tomorrow.  

Acknowledgement of Country

Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.