Sharks coach signs on until 2019
RUGBY LEAGUE: They have been circling for some weeks but the Sharks have finally locked coach Shane Flanagan into a new deal that will see him guide Cronulla's fortunes until the end of 2019.
The club has been waiting for the right time to make the major announcement as it rolled on to a record 16 straight wins and an unbeaten 17-game streak, which ended last weekend at the hands of Canberra.
Flanagan's contract was to have expired at the end of next season but he has now locked himself away until 2019.
Flanagan (pictured) has shown his talent and skill as a coach, not only in guiding the club through its much-publicised peptides scandal, when 12 players pleaded guilty to doping offences towards the end of 2014, but also in steering it towards what could be a first premiership in its 50th year.
"To know I'll be here another couple of years is reassuring but the club is heading in a great direction and I'm proud to be a part of it,” Flanagan said on the club's website.
"We've had a successful season so far this year, but there is a lot of footy left to be played.”
Flanagan's new deal means he will pass the 200-game mark with the Sharks, closing in on Queenslander John Lang's record of 220 games.
Flanagan's focus is now on the Sharks' clash with the Dragons on Saturday night, with the Sharks still in the race with Melbourne to take the minor premiership, which carries a six-figure purse for the winner and the prestige of being the best team over 26 weeks of tough competition.
The Dragons are playing for their season and if they can reproduce the form they showed in the final 10 minutes of their loss to Brisbane last weekend they could cause an upset.
Cronulla, however, will be equally revved up and keen to get back on the winning track after suffering their first win since their 22-12 round-three loss to Manly.