Craig Fitzgibbon has been given the keys to Cronulla until the end of 2027, inking a three-year extension with the Sharks.
The 45-year-old excelled in his first season as a head coach, taking the side to a top-four finish and guiding the likes of Nicho Hynes and Siosifa Talakai to individual success.
Fitzgibbon was already contracted to the Sharks until the end of 2024, but the new deal will see him remain in charge long-term in the hopes of creating stability and bringing a second premiership to the club.
The former NSW and Australian forward believes the club are heading in the right direction and is looking forward to remaining part of it moving forward.
MORE: Haele Finau ready to fire up the Dragons | Cronulla Sharks 2023 season preview
“This is a tremendous opportunity for us to build on what we started here at the Sharks last year,” Fitzgibbon said.
“We have outstanding playing talent, backed by a Board led by Steve Mace who are supportive of what we are trying to achieve.
“We enjoyed our first season, but our journey has just begun and we are looking to create an even stronger environment going forward.”
With experience at a powerhouse organisation at the Roosters and in the State of Origin ranks, there was no secret as to the ability Fitzgibbon possessed and it didn’t come as a great surprise to see that translate to on-field results in a head coaching capacity.
Cronulla chairman Steve Mace revealed the club were keen to lock Fitzgibbon in long-term immediately following last season.
“Craig managed to create an immediate impression when appointed to the role of head coach,” he said.
“His results then spoke for themselves and we believe as a board and management that the sky is the limit for our football program under his leadership.
“I indicated some months ago that is was our goal to have Craig as our head coach long term and to get the deal done and to make it a reality, is extremely satisfying.”
With a solid player roster mixed with experienced campaigners such as Dale Finucane and Matt Moylan, as well as talented young stars like Kayal Iro and Teig Wilton, the sky is the limit for the club under Fitzgibbon’s guidance.
Sharks CEO Dino Mezzatesta believes that Fitzgibbon offers plenty to the football club both on and off the field.
“Our decision to offer this extension to Craig wasn’t just about on-field results, which were certainly impressive last year in his first season in charge,” he said.
“It is also about the culture he is attempting to instil, not only amongst the NRL playing group, but throughout the entire football program.
“We believe Craig is setting our club up for success, not only in the short term and for the upcoming season, but also for the years to come.”