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Flanagan focuses on Sharks future

By Steve Jancetic 20/07/2010 07:24:40 PM Comments (0)

New Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan says his earlier-than-expected elevation to the top job won't take his focus away from rebuilding the Sharks into a genuine finals contender in 2011.

Flanagan was given a seven-week head start to life as the 16th head coach at the Sharks when Ricky Stuart vacated the post ahead of schedule on Monday.

And while his first challenge will be to restore pride in the jersey following last week's 48-18 pummelling by Manly, Flanagan said he wouldn't take his eye off the bigger picture as a result of the added responsibility.

That bigger picture could begin to take shape as early as this week with Flanagan revealing news on the player-signing front was imminent as he debunked the myth players weren't attracted to the Sharks.

"I just think I need that first one and hopefully we can get that done this week," Flanagan said on Tuesday.

"From all reports and talking to managers, there's not an issue about players coming to this club.

"We've got some marquee players here - Paul Gallen, (Kade) Snowden, (Luke) Douglas, (Anthony) Tupou.

"Anyone would want to come and play with those types of players.

"It's my job to get them here and I'll be concentrating on that over the next couple of weeks ... hopefully we'll have some good news soon."

Asked about the cash-strapped club's ability to afford top-end talent, Flanagan said: "The financial side of things is a bit of a concern.

"But the club has stated to me we will spend our salary cap and we'll have some marquee arrangements in place," he said.

While Flanagan's deal with the Sharks is for only two years, chairman Damien Irvine said the club viewed him as a long-term solution.

And on the back of the most volatile period in the club's history, Irvine was hopeful Flanagan's elevation would provide a fresh start.

"Sometimes when a club's been through what we have the last three years, sometimes change is what can turn the tide," Irvine said.

"We won't be expecting miracles and making large promises.

"We won't be spending money just to try and win a premiership next year or the year after.

"It's time that this club started doing things for the long term with a master plan.

"That takes time to build. We've brought in some fine coaches and fine players but it's been a bit slapdash.

"We've had three- and four-year cycles with coaches where the club has stripped out, re-built, stripped out and re-built.

"That's not how we're going forward now. We're 100 per cent committed in Shane and his team and the players we've got here."

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