Cronulla Sharks’ interim coach John Morris is in the running to take over the top job.
Cronulla Sharks’ interim coach John Morris is in the running to take over the top job.

Sharks begin interviews for coach

Cronulla will intensify their search for a head coach this week with the NRL club's board and CEO Barry Russell to begin interviewing candidates.

Less than four weeks out from their first trial against Manly, the Sharks are still without a full-time coach following Shane Flanagan's resignation. John Morris has been guiding the club through the pre-season in an interim role and heads a short list of candidates.

Penrith assistant and former Sharks back-rower Cameron Ciraldo and St Helens coach Justin Holbrook have also been mentioned as contenders. It's understood that former Manly coach Trent Barrett has yet to be offered an interview.

No timeline has been put on the selection process however the club will want to have it finalised within the next two weeks considering they meet the Sea Eagles in a pre-season match at Lottoland Stadium on February 23.

Flanagan stood down after being deregistered by the NRL for communicating with club officials during his year-long ban for his part in the club's peptides scandal.

The 2016 premiership-winner has said he plans to respond to the NRL's breach notice however stepped down to give the club certainty heading into the 2019 season.

The club last year announced a $3 million loss, which resulted in 10 staff being made redundant, and were fined $800,000 after an NRL integrity unit investigation uncovered email evidence that management were communicating with Flanagan during the 2014 season.

The club is also being investigated after Russell self-reported salary cap irregularities and faces another potential fine should they be found guilty. The Sharks are facing a challenging year on the pitch after a period of sustained success which has seen them reach the finals in six of the last seven years.

Fullback Valentine Holmes' decision to walk out on the club and pursue a career in the NFL left them without one of their brightest stars however he's been replaced by former Warriors halfback Shaun Johnson.