Premiership winner Michael Ennis will return to the Cronulla Sharks in 2023, taking up a coaching role with the club.
After working with the Raiders and Eels in recent years, the 38-year-old has moved back to the Shire and will act as the club’s elite pathways development manager.
Ennis is an astute football mind and along with his storied playing career and recent coaching work, has also become a staple of the Fox League coverage each weekend.
Sharks coach Craig Fitzgibbon welcomed the champion hooker back into the fold following an announcement on Friday morning.
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“I’m excited to have Mick on board,” he said.
“He was a premiership winning player here at the Sharks in 2016, and since retiring he’s maintained a close involvement in the game through his Fox Sports commentary and as an NRL coaching consultant.
“Mick is a local resident with a keen interest in junior league and has a passion for coaching.
“Our young pathway and academy players will definitely benefit from his knowledge and experience.”
Cronulla enjoyed a fantastic return to form in 2022 under Fitzgibbon’s guidance, finishing inside the NRL top-four before tumbling out of the finals in straight-sets.
The addition of Ennis to the coaching staff, especially dealing with players in junior reps and Jersey Flegg, will only bolster the long-term success of the Sharks.
“Craig and Dino [Mezzatesta] have the club heading in the right direction and I’m excited about this opportunity,” Ennis said.
“We have great potential here at the Sharks and in the Sutherland Shire, with an extremely healthy local junior league and plenty of very talented kids from age 13 right through to the 20-year-old’s playing Jersey Flegg.
“I’m passionate about having the chance to mentor and educate these young men and women and to show them what’s possible if they continue to learn and work hard.”
Ennis played 51 of his 274 first grade games for the Sharks, helping them to their maiden premiership victory back in 2016, as well as representing NSW at State of Origin level.
He told The Daily Telegraph of his excitement to return to Cronulla and his discussions with Eels boss Brad Arthur at the end of last year.
“It felt so nice to have the Sharks shirt on again and driving through the gates…I got really excited about it when Fitzy rang to return to the club that is so special to me,” Ennis said.
“I’m really passionate about junior pathways and my job will be to ensure the Sharks youngsters have a healthy environment. I love watching and helping kids chasing their NRL dreams.
“I spoke to Brad Arthur towards the end of last year. I explained I couldn’t be a full-time assistant because of Fox Sports, where I’ve got a job that I love…I could only be there a couple of days a week as a consultant.
“So then Fitzy rang and I’m back at the Sharks.”