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Coach Flanno




It’s time for rugby league to forgive Shane Flanagan​

Andrew Webster

June 13, 2023 — 6.55pm

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It’s time for St George Illawarra to stop being “the little club down the road” and become the Red V powerhouse they are supposed to be.
That was the essence of Shane Flanagan’s pitch to the Dragons’ board, which has endorsed his appointment from 2024 — a move that will end his five-year exile as an NRL head coach following his deregistration in December 2018.

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Flanagan return imminent

Flanagan return imminent
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Flanagan return imminent​

Shane Flanagan is poised to return to the Dragons as head coach.
“It would be an understatement if I didn’t express my excitement at being appointed head coach of the St George Illawarra Dragons,” he said in a statement texted through on Tuesday afternoon, including an emoji of a dragon.
Here’s another understatement: disillusioned Dragons fans are fed-up with watching their side fail to press for premierships, let alone the top eight, but with Flanagan on board they have reason for hope.

Because he’s right: with St George’s storied history and Illawarra’s conveyor belt of junior talent, they should be among the biggest brands in Australian sport, not eyeing their first wooden spoon in the 102-year history of the Red V.
The sins of the past can never be forgotten, but it’s time for rugby league to forgive Flanagan for his role in the Cronulla supplements scandal.
How long should a man be left out in the cold? Another 10 years? Forever?
Besides, St George Illawarra have boxed themselves into such a parlous corner they can’t afford themselves the luxury of taking the moral high ground.
They need a coach — oh how they need a coach! — and regardless of whether you think Flanagan deserves another NRL job or not there’s no denying his ability in transforming teams into finalists then finalists into premiers.

He did it at Cronulla in 2016 and will now attempt the same for the Dragons after the inflexible St George faction finally conceded Flanagan — and not Dean Young — was the best man for the job.
Flanagan has no idea why board member Peter Doust has been so against the idea of him coaching his club, but he suspects it’s the residual stench of what happened at Cronulla in 2011 when, on his watch, players were injected with unknown and prohibited peptides.
Shane Flanagan is poised to become the next coach of the Dragons.

Shane Flanagan is poised to become the next coach of the Dragons.CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES
According to those close to him, and even those who are not, Flanagan is a different man to the one suspended for a year in late 2013 for those governance indiscretions.
He was angry then, incapable of admitting fault. But he’s since admitted to himself and more recently to the Dragons that he failed in his duty of care to his players.

The Dragons are confident they’ve done enough searching due diligence to ensure the mistakes at Cronulla will never be repeated.
How long should a man be left out in the cold? Another 10 years? Forever? We’re all going to land at a different conclusion when answering that question.
When a former Dragons player reached out to Flanagan earlier this week to assure him that Doust wouldn’t block his appointment, it dawned on him that his purgatory was about to end.
After serving as Paul McGregor’s assistant in 2020, and then the club’s senior list consultant in 2022, Flanagan has a genuine feel for the club — both the good and the bad.
The club has a vast junior nursery, one that rivals Penrith, and harnessing the talent in the St George and Illawarra districts will be among his first tasks.

He’ll need to do some surgery on the roster, no doubt, with his biggest headache in the halves. Captain Ben Hunt will be playing halfback, not hooker, so a tough decision on releasing either Talatau Amone or Jayden Sullivan looms.
Fullback Tyrell Sloan needs to add some weight and aggression while the abundantly talented Zac Lomax requires an attitude adjustment.
Dragons supporters have been starved of success in recent years.

Dragons supporters have been starved of success in recent years.CREDIT: GETTY
Flanagan can build a forward pack around Blake Lawrie, Jack de Belin and Jayden Su’a, while Jack Bird is an obvious No.13, but what he does with the rest remains to be seen.
For the past two years, he’s watched football from the commentary box for 2GB and Fox Sports and it’s given him the perfect vantage point to consider the club’s potential.

Anthony Griffin’s supporters often argued he never had the squad to make a discernible impact on the premiership, but it’s been clear in certain games, at certain times, that this team has been crying out for an accomplished coach.
A fortnight ago, the Dragons board was convinced that was going to be Roosters assistant coach Jason Ryles until the Storm snuck under their guard and appointed him as the likely successor to Craig Bellamy.
Many observers, including this one, considered it another botched move from the Dragons board and management. Privately, though, the club felt like they’d dodged a bullet.
A former Dragons prop who resides in Wollongong, Ryles stood to receive a whopping $3.4 million over four years. Apart from the size of the contract, unheard of for a rookie, he had the opportunity to achieve something special at his former club in his local region.
Instead, he took the comfy option of eventually taking over a Storm side sparkling with international superstars. It suggested to the Dragons board that Ryles wouldn’t have had the mettle to turn the club around.

The St George faction pushed hard for Young, which was complicated because his father, Craig, remains on the St George District board, but the only real option available was Flanagan.
Many people consider him a Cronulla person, but he grew up in Beverly Hills, played his junior rep football for St George and made his starting first-grade debut at hooker alongside Craig Young in 1987 when the Herald’s columnist, Roy Masters, was coach.
The match was played at the Cumberland Oval and Flanagan remembers it for one reason: the Eels scored from the kick-off.
Yet another classic Dragons move


Very pleased with this appointment. I‘m quite grounded and don’t expect miracles, just a significantly improved performance for top 8 next year. Flanagan turns out competitive teams.I do think we will be better at recruitment.

Kyle Flanagan was playing class football back 4 to 5 years ago. Maybe ( if it ever happened) he might regain form as backup hooker. From memory a good goal kicker.



Kyle reinventing himself as a number 9… let’s see how that unfolds
Benny Hunt has said on a number of time's he doesn't want to play 9 week in week out and thats fair, a millions tackles and run the show will mentally burn him out, we do have an issue, though Amone and Sulli, I think we'll end up losing one.
Fullback- Sloan
7/6- S Flanagan will need to make a choice, for the long term halves pairing Hunt / Sulli or Amone, both will not sit around playing musical chairs.
Hooker Liddell or may Kyle if he wants to develop into onto a 9.

Dragon David

First Grade
We know that coaches have favourites. I haven't looked into how Flanno operated at the Sharks with his players. I'm hoping his selection of the squad for each game next year is on the basis of form and fitness rather than any bias and select who he might have brought into the club or those who he had some "friendship" with during his previous assistant coach/list management days with us.

dungay dragon

Is there talk Flanno wants to bring his son here. Hell no.. done bugger all at the Bulldogs. We need to be looking to nurture our promising junior halves and spine players.
Cant see how he can see out this year at Manly while all his thoughts will be on restructuring the Dragons ahead for 2023 ,
Cant possibly work ..If 1 manly player is rumored to be heading our way for the remainder of this year or next year , all hell will break loose
Thinking a parting of the ways will amicably finish soon

jay mac

With Flanno making it clear he is playing Hunt at half, plus with Sully also wanting to, there is now little doubt that the Dragons junior will look elsewhere..
I have always thought 6. Sullivan, 7. Hunt, 14. Amone is the best makeup if Hunt is not moved to 9. Gives a lot of options to cover injuries anywhere in the backline plus hooker or lock. I also think Amone has had good impact in the games he been named to come off the bench.

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