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Flanagan out to boost Cronulla's stocks

By Steve Jancetic 24/05/2010 10:25:45 PM Comments (0)

Shane Flanagan claims his biggest task in taking on the Cronulla coaching job will be to attract the "one or two" quality players he says can turn the NRL strugglers into a finals force.

Flanagan's 14-year apprenticeship finally reaped its reward on Monday when he was appointed Ricky Stuart's successor at the Sharks in 2011.

While he admitted to being in something of a whirlwind as the news of his promotion continued to sink in, Flanagan denied he was taking over a basket-case despite Cronulla's shocking run on and off the field.

"The players that we've got here are really good players and I think we're only one or two players off being really competitive every week," said Flanagan, who began his coaching career with Parramatta's SG Ball side in 1997.

"If we could just get that class player or class two players, I don't think we're far away.

"The challenge for me as a rookie coach is to be able to attract a superstar or quality player to boost what we've got at the moment."

While Flanagan refused to pinpoint any potential targets, there is little doubt the Sharks will continue to monitor the situation at Melbourne given the Storm are expected to have to shed some star quality to get back under the cap in 2011.

Flanagan, who took time out of his role as Craig Bellamy's NSW Origin assistant to attend Monday's announcement, has been assured by club management that he will have the full salary cap at his disposal.

But he denied the Sharks roster was in need of a complete overhaul, claiming the likes of young guns Blake Ferguson, Albert Kelly and Nathan Stapleton along with a pack containing four representative players had given him a good foundation from which to build on.

"We played Parramatta on Saturday night - they're second favourites in the competition. I know they were without Jarryd Hayne, but we beat them on the weekend," Flanagan said.

"Everyone tries to make excuses for the opposition, we're a pretty good team, we're just a bit inconsistent at the moment."

Stuart said he expected a seamless transition from him to his understudy.

"Where Shane's very lucky is that I've ensured from day one when we first got here that he was involved in all the decisions and the planning going forward at this club," Stuart said.

"It's not going to be something new for him."

Asked what style of coach he would be, Flanagan said the influences of early mentor Brian Smith and more recently Stuart - who he has been with the past six and a half years - would no doubt come through.

"Definitely Ricky has had a big influence on my career," he said.

"My coaching next year, I'm not going to say it's going to be exactly the same, but he's had a massive influence on me the last six years."

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