Shaun Johnson says it’s “disappointing” to see the way John Morris has been treated by powerbrokers, as they eye Craig Fitzgibbon.
Cronulla Sharks star Shaun Johnson says it’s “disappointing” to see the way coach John Morris has been treated by club powerbrokers, as Roosters assistant Craig Fitzgibbon looks set to take the helm in 2022.
After a week of speculation around Morris’ job, there were significant developments over the weekend following reports Fitzgibbon had notified the Roosters over his intention to take the helm at Cronulla next season.
There has been a unified stance among Morris’ players who have publicly defended the coach’s tenure. In his two years in control, Morris has seen the Sharks into the finals twice, after being handed the reins at the eleventh hour following Shane Flanagan’s suspension in 2019.
Should Fitzgibbon take charge next season, he’ll have to make tough calls on the futures of 14 off-contract players. Johnson, alongside Matt Moylan, Aaron Woods and Josh Dugan, is one of those yet to commit, and speaking publicly on the matter, the Kiwi test star didn’t pull any punches.
“I think everyone that’s aware of the situation would definitely be feeling the same about it,” Johnson told Fox Sports’ The Matty Johns Show.
“I look at the facts, bro. I don’t know how you can have a coach who has been thrown in at the deep end right at the start.
“He had to take over a difficult situation at the star with Flanagan leaving.
“He’s gone after it, taken the side to the finals the last two years and finds himself in the position he is now. It’s disappointing, certainly disappointing.
Asked if he thought Morris would stick around as an assistant coach, Johnson said: “I believe he’s beyond that.
“If I was at the club next year I’d love Bomber [Morris] to be around.
“For me personally, he has definitely brought a better version of myself out.
“Coming over from New Zealand, what I got with Bomber was someone who believed in me and he pushed me every day.
“We would have open conversations, it’s selfish of me saying he should stay on in any capacity, but I think he’s beyond that.
“He hasn’t had any control over the roster, he’s been in a situation where our cap has been shot the last couple of years and he’s made do with what he’s got. He’s got us all on board, so I genuinely can’t speak highly enough of him.”
The Daily Telegraph reports that Sharks powerbrokers will meet today in a high-level meeting to discuss Morris’ future.