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Sharks legends complement Sharks coaching structure

A combined 37-years of NRL wisdom will be imparted on the Sharks squad in 2021.

Paul Gallen, who played for NSW, Australia and a club record 348 NRL games for the Sharks, along with Luke Lewis, a member of the premiership winning Cronulla team of 2016 and also a former Blue, Kangaroo and a veteran of 324 NRL matches, are set to assist John Morris prepare his side throughout the 2021 season.

The pair will be specialist skills coaches, concentrating on their areas of expertise, while also bringing their experience to the table in helping to mentor the young Sharks squad.

Sharks CEO Dino Mezzatesta was thrilled that the Club had managed to attract both Lewis and Gallen back into the fold to provide additional support to the existing coaching team.

“Paul and Luke have been instrumental in supporting our Club as Players and now can bring enormous value to our playing squad as specialist coaches. No doubt their presence will also assist in attracting talent to our Club should we be in a position to recruit,” Mezzatesta said.

For Morris the addition of his two former teammates, in Gallen and Lewis, complements what is already an impressive and knowledgeable high-performance group, providing an enormous boost ahead of the start of pre-season preparations.

“It’s great news for the club to welcome Paul Gallen and Luke Lewis onto the NRL coaching staff,” Morris said.

“We all know the significance as to what they bring as NSW and Australian representatives and premiership winning players and I’m looking forward to them imparting some of that experience, passion and winning edge onto the team and in particular our exciting youth.

“Hopefully with no ‘NRL bubble’ to contend with this season, Gal will return as specialist forwards and ruck defense coach while Luke will work specifically with the edges and our young backrowers in Nikora, Wilton and Talakai,” Morris added.

The successful NSW skipper in 2014 and the man to hold aloft the Sharks first premiership trophy as club captain in 2016, Gallen was working with the Cronulla forwards before COVID restrictions forced him out of the Sharks training bubble early last year.

While for Lewis this will be his first foray into coaching at an NRL level, but with the lessons learnt and knowledge gained over his 18 seasons in the NRL, the Sharks look forward to him also having a positive influence on the playing group in 2021.

The pair will work alongside Morris and his fulltime coaching assistants in Josh Hannay and Dave Howlett as the Sharks aim to build on their eighth place finish in 2020 while continuing to bring through and develop the exciting youngsters who were introduced to the NRL last year.

With the announcement of the two former legends joining the club's coaching set up, Morris’s team is complete with pre-season already underway.

Howlett, who enjoyed coaching success in the lower grades at Sharks, winning SG Ball and Jersey Flegg titles along the way, begins his third year as an NRL assistant, where he will be joined by Hannay, the 2020 Cowboys interim head coach returning to the club at which he played during the 2007 season.

In addition, Morris has added Nathan Pickworth as Head of Performance and Tony Grimaldi as Strength and Conditioning coach in 2021.

Carrying out a similar role at the Dragons in 2020, Pickworth arrives at the Sharks with a strong reputation, while former Bulldogs first grade player Grimaldi is highly respected having worked at the Canterbury club since injury forced him into retirement back in 2006.

Daniel Holdsworth is Coach of the Sharks under-21 Jersey Flegg side, Elite Development Coach and will also work with the halves and outside backs as an NRL assistant, as he did in 2020, NRL Physiotherapist Dave Garrick returns, to again be assisted in the area of rehab and recovery by fellow physio Pat Williams, with strength coach Alex Clarke, Sports Scientist John Davey and Performance Analyst Marc Leabres also back on deck in 2021.

Dr George Pitsis, from the Sports Medicine Institute at Miranda, will be the Sharks Club doctor.

Mark Noakes is the Sharks NRL Performance Operations Manager and Darren Mooney General Manager of Football.

Mooney returns to the club after being influential in helping to build the Sharks 2016 Grand Final-winning roster before spending three years at the Newcastle Knights. He will oversee the overall football operations and the Sharks top 30 player recruitment.

Sharks 2021 NRL Football Department
John Morris — NRL Head Coach
Darren Mooney — General Manager – Football
Mark Noakes — NRL Performance Operations
Nathan Pickworth — Head of Performance
Dave Howlett — NRL Assistant Coach
Josh Hannay — NRL Assistant Coach
Paul Gallen – NRL Specialist coach
Luke Lewis – NRL Specialist coach
Daniel Holdsworth – Elite Development Coach/NRL Assistant
Tony Grimaldi — Strength and Conditioning Coach
Alex Clarke — Strength Coach
Dave Garrick – NRL Physiotherapist
Pat Williams – NRL Physiotherapist
John Davey – Sports Scientist
Marc Leabres – Performance Analyst
Luke Mace - NRL Operations
Amanda King – Education and Wellbeing
Jeff Robson – Education and Wellbeing
Glenn Brailey – Academy and Talent Identification
Dr George Pitsis – Club Doctor