Brisbane Broncos not blindsided by Cronulla Sharks’ interest in Craig Bellamy


That revelation hasn’t dampened the enthusiasm of officials at Red Hill, which will soon include incoming chief executive Dave Donaghy, the former Storm boss who will replace Paul White within weeks.

Kevin Walters has a big job to restore the Broncos to their former glory.Credit:Getty

Even with the ongoing drama around player behaviour and an unwanted first wooden spoon, the Broncos believe they still have the financial clout and stature to make Red Hill an attractive destination for Bellamy as a one-two punch with new head coach Kevin Walters.

The Storm are still in the equation, too, and want to keep Bellamy on in a consultancy capacity, which would allow him to return to Queensland to be closer to family while helping the Storm in a fly-in, fly-out role.

They would love him to simply continue as head coach but Bellamy spoke before the grand final of his fatigue in the role given its round-the-clock demands and the intensity he applies to it.

Bellamy has spoken of a desire to base himself on the Gold Coast but the Titans already have Mal Meninga in the kind of role Brisbane, Cronulla and the Storm envisage for Bellamy. At the very least, the Gold Coast have shown how effective a figurehead can be in the football department. Meninga was central to the club’s capture of Brisbane’s star edge forward David Fifita.

The option of another club in Brisbane has given Bellamy more food for thought. The Redcliffe Dolphins, who would likely trade as the Brisbane Dolphins, are favourites to be granted the next NRL licence.

The Dolphins have targeted Wayne Bennett as their inaugural coach, if he is available, but having an iconic figure like Bellamy on the books would be just as much of a boost – if not more – when building their first roster.

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Dolphins chairman Bob Jones said he had yet to make contact with Bellamy but that discussion was on his radar as the bidding process progresses.

“We haven’t spoken to Craig yet but we probably will when the time is right,” Jones said.

Given Redcliffe’s strong financial base, which even the Broncos acknowledge makes them the frontrunner as a local rival, they would be in a good position to offer Bellamy a deal that would set up his semi-retirement.

And Bellamy may enjoy the idea of working with a blank canvas, rather than trying to revive the fortunes of clubs like the Sharks or Broncos.

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NRL 2021: Craig Bellamy, Cronulla Sharks, Melbourne Storm, latest news


The Cronulla Sharks confirmed on Saturday there’d been “ongoing” discussions with Craig Bellamy over a potential Coaching Director role at the club.

The statement came shortly after News Corp revealed the two parties had been locked in “secret talks” for six months, with the Sharks tabling a four-year deal in an attempt to gazump the Melbourne Storm and Brisbane Broncos.

“We can confirm meetings have been ongoing between the Sharks, Craig Bellamy and his advisors, in relation to a potential Coaching Director role at our Club from 2022 onwards,” Sharks CEO Dino Mezzatesta said.

“Until there is more to report, the Sharks will be making no further comment.”

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Cronulla Sharks in shock play for Craig Bellamy


Bellamy told the Weekend Australian he was in no rush to make a call on his next move and the health of his wife Wendy was now his top priority.

‘We can confirm meetings have been ongoing between the Sharks, Craig Bellamy and his advisors.’

Dino Mezzatesta, Sharks CEO

“I haven’t even thought about it yet because of the situation we are in,” he said. “Until I can sit down with [Wendy] and talk about [my future] there will be no decision.

“I suppose people will want an answer, but it’s not a priority at the moment. It’s way down the list to be honest.”

According to The Sunday Telegraph on Saturday night, Bellamy and Cronulla had been in private talks for six months, with Bellamy saying: “There’s a Sydney club, but I can’t name them. They’ve done a really good job to keep it secret. I’ve been talking to them for as long as the Broncos offer has been there. It’s a serious option.”

Those close to Bellamy had no idea about the talks with Cronulla and only a select few at the Sharks knew about the audacious bid. Others were convinced Bellamy would simply not enjoy Sydney life.

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Bellamy won the 2012, 2017 and 2020 premierships along with the 2007 and 2009 grand finals, but the latter titles were stripped from the club. He missed out on the Canberra coaching job to Matt Elliott in 2002, about the same time there was interest from Wests Tigers, before he started at the Storm in 2003.

One coach whose name is continually linked to the Sharks is Sydney Roosters assistant Craig Fitzgibbon, a rookie head coach who would benefit from working alongside a professional like Bellamy.

Bellamy’s presence at Cronulla would make it easier for the club to attract players and sponsors. Current coach John Morris is off contract at the end of this season and, aged 40, would relish having Bellamy in his corner.

Morris made it known this week he was keen to stay on and was focused on trying to get the Sharks to a third straight NRL finals series. Morris has plenty of supporters. Recruit Cameron McInnes certainly wants the coach to remain at the helm, saying: “He knows what it is like to be a player and to be at the top level for so long so I am looking forward to working with him”.

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Sharks secret talks with Melbourne super coach Craig Bellamy


A Daily Telegraph report has revealed that the Sharks management have been in secret talks to snare the super coach when his deal with the Storm ends at the end of the season.

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The 61-year-old coaching legend has long been linked to a move to the Brisbane Broncos as he wants to be closer to his grandchildren on the Gold Coast.

But Bellamy revealed in the report that a Sydney side had emerged as a surprise contender for his signature.

“There’s a Sydney club, but I can’t name them. They’ve done a really good job to keep it secret,” he said.

“I’ve been talking to them for as long as the Broncos offer has been there. It’s a serious option.”

Asked specifically about Cronulla: “Well, it’s a really nice place. Honestly I can’t say anything. I’ve had a bit on my plate but I’ll make a decision soon.”

But Sharks CEO Dino Mezzatesta has revealed that the Sharks have indeed made a play and that the talks have been going on in secret for the past six months, with the proposed length of the deal said to be four years as the coaching director of the club.

“We can confirm meetings have been ongoing between the Sharks, Craig Bellamy and his advisers, in relation to a potential Coaching Director role at our Club from 2022 onwards,” Mezzatesta said in a social media release.

“Until there is more to report, the Sharks will be making no further comment.”

Bellamy is one of the hottest commodities in the NRL after revealing he would walk away from the Storm head coaching role at the end of the 2021 season.

It creates a three-way battle for Bellamy, with the Broncos floating a 10-year deal to get him to the club while the Storm are confident that Bellamy will stay with the Storm.

The Sharks currently have a reported $5 million in salary cap space at the end of next season, while current coach John Morris has yet to be re-signed.

It points to a relatively blank canvas for someone like Bellamy to make a huge mark on the club.

With another title in 2020 and the Storm perennial title contenders, it’s no wonder everyone wants a piece of Bellamy.

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NRL 2021: Jimmy Brings, Isaac Moses deregistered, Shane Flanagan coaching return, ban, Sharks, Jacob Liddle, Luciano Leilua, training fight, Wests Tigers


No, it’s not Groundhog Day at the Cronulla Sharks. But here we are talking about the possible return of suspended head coach Shane Flanagan. Again.

We’ve said it before and we’ll reiterate it once more, the chances of the Sharks rolling out the red carpet for the return of Flanagan as head coach in 2022 are 100/1 and drifting.

The annual push for Flanagan to have his NRL head coaching ban reduced has been in full swing this week as the coach who ended the Sharks 50-year premiership drought ramps up the charm offensive for a return to the NRL.

We’ve heard Sharks powerbroker Steve Mace has given Flanagan a both barrels spray about driving the PR campaign.

Round 1

We’ve also heard Mace personally telephoned current Sharks coach John Morris to tell “Bomber” the reports are way off.

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Morris backs himself to lead Sharks to finals again as coaching rumours swirl


Unsigned at the end of the year, Morris has got the best out of a side that has dealt with injuries to key players and has fielded nearly a dozen rookies.

The 40-year-old coach was given a huge rap by one superstar playmaker, with Shaun Johnson – who led the league in try assists in 2020 – telling the Herald in recent weeks: “I genuinely believe I don’t play the footy I did last season without ‘Bomber’.”

Will he stay or will he go? John Morris.Credit:Sam Mooy/SMH

Prized recruit Cameron McInnes also singled out Morris for special praise after he took up a four-year deal at the club from 2022, admitting “he knows what it is like to be a player and to be at the top level for so long so I am looking forward to working with him”.

Cronulla chief executive Dino Mezzatesta has already gone on record claiming there is no deadline or quota of games Morris needs to win at the start of the year to keep his job. He added Morris “is in the current role and he’s in the box seat [to keep it]”.

Morris has made a point of directing all inquiries about his future to the club’s hierarchy, and didn’t change his tune in light of the speculation involving his predecessor.

Shane Flanagan spent last year as an assistant with St George Illawarra.

Shane Flanagan spent last year as an assistant with St George Illawarra.Credit:Getty Images

“I’m only focused on the year ahead and building on the last two years of playing finals football,” Morris said.

“We’ve had 11 rookies debut during that time, they’ll all be better for the experience they’ve gained, and after the pre-season we’ve had I’ve got no doubts we can play finals football again in 2021.”

Johnson was happy to rap Morris and said: “The one thing I’ve really appreciated since being in Cronulla and at the Sharks is my relationship with ‘Bomber’ [Morris].

“It’s just that personal relationship. He’s a coach who asks how everything else is going off the field before he asks how you’re going on the field.

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“He checks in to see if I need anything outside this place. To me, not having any family here, I can’t put into words how that much means to me.

“He’s just a great person and makes it easy for me to walk through these gates and want to perform well for him.

“I know there are a number of boys who would say the exact same thing about him.″⁣

Flanagan took Cronulla to their only premiership victory in 2016.

He served as an assistant at St George Illawarra last season before parting ways with the club once Anthony Griffin came on board.

Panthers assistant Cameron Ciraldo has also been linked to the job, as has Sydney Roosters deputy Craig Fitzgibbon.

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Swimmer stalked by two sharks in New Zealand’s Bay of Plenty


This is the terrifying moment a swimmer flees for his life as two sharks snap at his heels.

The man was swimming in the water at Ōhope Beach, a popular spot in New Zealand’s Bay of Plenty, when he heard an onlooker scream that there were sharks next to him.

Another family filmed the dramatic scenes as the sharks cruised along the beach.

In the footage two fins can be seen jutting out of the water as waves crash onto the beach.

Phil Squire with his 15-year-old daughter Eliza when beachgoers started to say they had seen two sharks out in the water, behind where the man was swimming.

Mr Squire told local media outlet Stuff that he thought the sharks may have been bronze whalers.

“There were quite a few people gathering around when they realised a shark was there,” he said.

“People were shouting, ‘Shark, shark!’ Two fins appeared near the man and he got a huge fright and took off.”

The incident occurred in January but rumours of shark sightings along the coast were keeping a lot of people out of the water, despite it being a hot day, Mr Squire said.

“Information does travel up and down the beach and I guess one of the clues that there might be a problem was that there were a lot of people out of the water.

“It was a very hot day and I guess it was unexpected to have sharks that close.”

One of Mr Squire’s daughters had been surfing at the west end of Ōhope Beach during their holiday, and had passed over some stingrays, he said.

“She was a bit nervous, she was definitely staying on her board with the possibility of sharks and stingrays around … but I think it added to the excitement.

“We did a lot of surfing around those beaching but weren’t dipping our toes in, in case they got nibbled.”

Despite being a keen surfer himself, Mr Squire said he’d never encountered sharks.

He came forward with the video after reading news of recent shark sightings in Auckland.

Earlier this year, a shark attack at Waihī Beach, another popular beaching spot, took the life of a young woman.

Kaelah Marlow, 19, suffered bites to one of her legs when she was attacked while swimming in New Zealand. She was pulled alive from the sea but paramedics were unable to save her.

“I’m a surfer and you realise these areas are the sharks’ natural habitats and people visiting rightfully need to be careful,” Mr Squire said.

He urged other surfers and swimmers to be “be sensible” and exercise good water safety.

“Watch out for each other in the water,” he said.

“If you see something, let other folks know and exit the water safely.

“It is better to err on the side of caution, keep an eye out to spot anything unusual.”

This article originally appeared on The Sun and has been republished with permission

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NRL considering allowing Shane Flanagan to return as head coach this season as pressure mounts on Cronulla Sharks coach John Morris


He recently approached NRL boss Andrew Abdo and ARL Commission chairman Peter V’landys to inquire whether he would be able to take a job if one came up, with the game’s powerbrokers indicating they would consider bringing forward his return date by a few months.

The final decision will rest with the ARLC, but the game is aware that denying Flanagan this season may limit his chances for a number of years.

Shane Flanagan worked with Dean Young as an assistant to Paul McGregor at the Dragons in 2020.

The NRL has shown a willingness to be flexible with the rules under V’landys and base decisions around criteria and circumstances, as is the case with the Sydney Roosters’ application to allow 17-year-old Joseph Suaalii to play in round one. The code’s rules state a player must be at least 18 to make his first-grade debut.

News of Flanagan’s potential early return will add to the heat on a number of under-pressure coaches heading into the 2021 season, which kicks off on March 11.

Cronulla coach John Morris, who took over from Flanagan at the Sharks, is among those in the spotlight.

The Sharks have refused to extend Morris’ tenure, leaving the young coach without a job for next season. Flanagan’s return would amplify speculation that Morris will be replaced by his former mentor, although not everyone is convinced he is the right option.

Flanagan has plenty of support on the board, but the Herald understands chief executive Dino Mezzatesta is opposed to bringing him back to the club he led to premiership glory in 2016.

Flanagan still has strong ties with key players at the club, including captain Wade Graham, as well as recruit Cam McInnes from his time with the hooker at the Dragons. Flanagan declined to comment when contacted.

Flanagan, who served as an assistant to Paul McGregor at the Dragons last year, is without a job after new St George Illawarra coach Anthony Griffin opted against retaining him.

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The other name being discussed internally is Penrith Panthers assistant coach Cameron Ciraldo, who has a close bond with the players at the foot of the mountains.

And while there is pressure on Eels coach Brad Arthur, Parramatta have no interest in Flanagan’s services should they decide to change direction.

At the time of Flanagan’s ban, Greenberg said: “I have spoken to Shane at length and he has expressed significant remorse and accepted responsibility for his past actions and the detrimental impact they have had on the game”.

“We have created a pathway for Shane to return to the coaching ranks. Today’s decision gives Shane an opportunity to be registered in the NRL. This is not a set and forget approach. Shane and any future club who employs him has numerous conditions which they must comply with and the Integrity Unit will continue to monitor his conduct over the next two seasons.”

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Cameron McInnes ready to be stripped of Dragons captaincy after Cronulla Sharks defection


But St George Illawarra’s best for the last two years said he would be accepting if Griffin opted to go in another direction with the captaincy, while shooting down rumours of a rift with the new coach.

“When ‘Hook’ [Griffin] came in he said to all of us players, ‘don’t worry about leadership groups, captaincy or whatnot, let’s just rip into training and start to build something, then we will talk about that when footy comes’,” McInnes said.

“We haven’t had those discussions. I’d love to be captain, but if the club need to go in another direction for the future I completely understand and I will be doing everything I can to help that person and just being a leader in my own right.

“I’ll squash all that [rumour of a fallout] right now because that couldn’t be further from the truth.

“With the Origin squad unfortunately I wasn’t able to be back at training until after Christmas, but I spoke to ‘Hook’ a couple of times. What him and the staff have brought to the club has been really encouraging … and I really admire his approach to footy. I have only known him for three or four weeks and am still getting to know him.”

McInnes’ signature before the start of the season will make for a spicy round one when the Dragons host the Sharks at Kogarah on March 14.

“I’d love to be captain, but if the club need to go in another direction for the future I completely understand.”

Cameron McInnes

McInnes has signed to play lock for the Sharks – who are still yet to decide on their long-term coach – and said he would welcome the addition of Brisbane hooker Andrew McCullough to the club this year.

“I want the club to be successful on the field so if Andrew McCullough was to come I think he would add a lot to the team with his experience and his toughness,” McInnes said.

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“He has played for Queensland and he has played in grand finals, so I would love to play with ‘Macca’ for sure. In terms of playing hooker I don’t care.

“If the Dragons want me to play lock I am 100 per cent ready for that and if they need me to play hooker I’ll do that too.”

Off-contract Dragons fullback Matt Dufty has already expressed frustration with the lack of progress in discussions about his future after a breakout season in 2020. And McInnes wasn’t willing to wait to hear the Dragons’ position on his future.

“From my standpoint where I’m at in my career I wanted something done sooner rather than later,” McInnes said. “The club were honest with me, open and I respected that. The club has done a lot for me.

“As far as I’m concerned we’ve still got another year and a great opportunity. Once it’s all said and done I’ll be leaving on great terms.”

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Shark attacked surfing ski, teenager left shaken but uninjured

Adrenaline rise as teenager had a shark attack on a very close encounter with the animal more than a kilometer offshore of an Adelaide suburban beach. Although unscathed, the teenager was left shaken to the core.

The 17-year –old, Jade French was among five boys who are conducting surf lifesaving training off Glenelg beach last night as the shark attacked his surf ski.
During the attack, the animal sank its teeth into the rear of the teenager’s craft, which left several bite marks. Immediately, Jed and the others swiftly padled about 1.5 kilometers back to the shore for safety.

According to manager Daniel Willetts of Surf Life Saving SA emergency operations, “He felt a thud on the rear of his surf ski. On turning around, he’s seen the head of an unknown species of shark biting the rear of the surf ski. As quickly as the shark appeared, it then disappeared back into the water.”

Meanwhile, Glenelg Surf Life Saving Club member Dan Demaria explained that the boys were a “lot further out than normal” upon the occurrence of the shark encounter.

He narrated, “There was a big thud, a big crunch, and then [Jed] looked around and the boys said there was a shark. It took a chomp, they looked around and just hoicked it back to shore. They were going so fast I think at one stage one of the boys even fell off, sort of halfway back. He got straight back on and paddled. One thing they said, it was a red-eyed shark — they remarked how red the eyes were. When we took the surf ski out we actually emptied the water out and the water was draining out of the holes so the shark had chomped quite a way into it.”

Despite that, Mr. Willetts praised the teenagers for keeping composure and acting wisely with such threatening event. As for Jed, he said that he had been left “shaken”, and was receiving counseling, but that he and the other boys were otherwise safe and well.

“It’s a close call. Everybody remained calm; they came back in and reported the matter to us.”

This is to no surprise as Mr. Willetts noted there had been an increase in sightings recently. However, there was no evidence the number of sharks off Adelaide’s coast was any higher than usual. He said he did not think local swimmers should be deterred.