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ARLC set to discuss Flanagan case in final 2018 meeting

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17th December, 2018

The Australian Rugby League Committee board will meet for the last time this year on Tuesday as they look to discuss a variety of matters on their agenda – including the allegations against Shane Flanagan.

The ARLC have several matters to discuss before they adjourn for the Christmas break, such as looking at proposals for new media guidelines going into the 2019 Telstra Premiership season.

However the main item on the list will be to discuss the NRL Integrity Unit’s review of a series of emails involving Flanagan and previous Sharks officials that were discovered this year.

This review means any penalties or sanctions to be enforced will be revealed by Wednesday.

The emails in question date back to the 2014 season, the season during which coach Flanagan was serving a 12-month ban (reduced to nine months due to undergoing management and governance courses) due to his role in a lack of care for the welfare of players injected with peptides over a three-month period in 2011.

It was during December 2013 that the NRL handed down the ban to Flanagan as well as a two-year suspension for former head of health and conditioning Trent Elkin, and a $1 million fine to the club for failing to provide a safe and healthy work environment for players during the supplements drama.

Shane Flanagan

Head coach Shane Flanagan of the Sharks (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

The NRL then reduced the fine by $400,000, provided that Flanagan and the Sharks met a number of conditions over governance stipulated by the governing body.

One of such conditions was that Flanagan was to have no contact with the club during his suspension.


Fast forward to 2018 and the current Sharks CEO Barry Russell self-reported the club over a mysterious $50,000 payment, allegedly in breach of salary cap rules, in 2015 and 2017.

These reports then sparked a forensic analysis into Sharks computer servers and emails, the results of which will be made public in 2019.

The NRL has already said the indiscretions were not on the high-end of the cap breaches and that Cronulla has remained well under the cap in the 2018 season.

However throughout the duration of the investigation, the separate matter of Flanagan conversing with officials arose.

The results of this investigation will cap-off what can only be described as a mixed year for the Sharks.

On the field, the side finished the Premiership season in fourth place, losing the Preliminary final to the Melbourne Storm 22-6.

Off the field dramas continue, as serious financial hiccups emerged after a slow-down in the revenue flowing from the Sharks residential-retain development on club land adjacent to Southern Cross Group Stadium – Shark Park.

Club sponsors have also fallen away, including the lucrative front-of-jersey position for the Sharks.


To top it all off, on November 10, several administration staff were made redundant by the club.

Article written by Charlotte Harber.