Shane Flanagan, a premiership-winning coach, is returning to NRL head coaching with the St George Illawarra Dragons. The club announced on Wednesday that Flanagan had signed a three-year contract and would take over until the end of 2026. Flanagan, who is currently an assistant at the Manly Sea Eagles, will see out the season with his current team before joining the Dragons.
Flanagan has promised to end the Dragons‘ four-year finals drought and rebuild the club over the next few years. Since Wayne Bennett left the team in 2011, the Dragons have only won one finals match. Flanagan, however, feels that there is a fantastic opportunity at the Dragons to build something special.
The new coach is no stranger to the Dragons, having served as an assistant to Paul McGregor and, later, a recruitment manager under Anthony Griffin. Flanagan’s path back into coaching marks a comeback after his four-year ban and deregistration for his involvement in the Cronulla Sharks‘ supplements saga. Despite the setback, Flanagan led the Sharks to their first premiership in 2016.
The Dragons chairman, Andrew Lancaster, has expressed confidence in Flanagan’s abilities as a coach, stating that the club has “full faith” in his coaching abilities and his knowledge of the club’s system and pathways. Flanagan will add value to the club in the role of head coach given its talented and emerging playing roster.