Premiership winner Shane Flanagan opens up on Manly assistant role

Shane Flanagan has opened up on his new job as Manly assistant coach – and he’s hoping to catapult himself back into a head coaching role in the future.

After being deregistered by the NRL in 2018, Flanagan has worked at the Dragons for the past few years as both an assistant and list management consultant. 

But after moving on from the Red V, the 56-year-old will head to the Sea Eagles next season and link up with former Broncos boss Anthony Seibold on the coaching staff.

The move is an interesting one for both parties. Flanagan is still hoping to gain a head coaching role and it was surprising he wasn’t considered for the top job at Manly after Des Hasler’s messy exit, while the new boss Seibold will immediately have internal pressure from his right-hand man. 

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But speaking on 2GB Radio, Flanagan explained the reasons behind his move to the Northern Beaches and revealed Seibold and the club want to push him back into a major role within the NRL.

“The thing that I liked about Anthony when he first rang me to ask me to come and do the job, which a lot of other coaches wouldn’t do,” he said. 

“He wanted me to come there because he sees me as an NRL coach and I’ve done it before and I’ve been in that position, and he wants someone to work beside him that’s had that experience.

“A lot of coaches would be intimidated by it. It’s a really good start, and he wants me to coach like an NRL coach, and the club wants me to do that, as well.

“The club wants me to get an NRL job, and if I do a really good job with Manly that will happen.”

Flanagan emerged as one of the game’s best coaches during his time with Cronulla, taking them to multiple finals series and guiding the club to their maiden premiership in 2016.

But his time at the Sharks didn’t come without controversy, with Flanagan involved in both the salary cap drama and doping scandals during his time in charge. 

And a fresh start after a disappointing run at St George Illawarra may do his coaching future the world of good, after missing out on the top job at the Bulldogs and Tigers earlier this year.

Flanagan believes the Sea Eagles have what it takes to do some damage and rebound from a horror 2022 campaign, and pointed to the likes of Haumole Olakau’atu and the Trbojevic brothers as integral members of the squad.

“Our back-row is going to be [strong]…Olakau’atu started last year, sort of burst onto the scene – he’s a quality edge back-rower,” he said.

“If you throw Jake at lock. Tom is at the back, and then we’ve got some really classy outside backs.

“I don’t see too many weaknesses, but what I do see is a side that can play football and score some points and has got speed and power.

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“When you come into a side, me and Anthony Seibold coming into a club like this, they’ve come last or down the bottom of the table and you come in and the roster needs a big change.

“It definitely doesn’t need to change at Manly. We’ve got a good footy team ready to go this year, so I’d expect good things.”

Manly will kick off their 2023 campaign with a clash against Canterbury in Round 1. 

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