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The Hisense Cronulla Sharks have agreed to a request from Head Coach Ricky Stuart to be released from the final year of his contract.<br>&nbsp;<br>Originally contracted to the end of 2011 season, Stuart will continue as Shark’s Head Coach for the remainder of the 2010 season.<br>&nbsp;<br>As head coach at the Sharks for four years, Stuart guided the club to an equal top of the table finish in 2008.<br>&nbsp;<br>“I genuinely wish to thank the club for its consideration for which has been a challenging period,” Stuart said today.<br>&nbsp;<br>“The past two years have been unbelievably draining as Head Coach, both on and off the field.<br>&nbsp;<br>“I wish the club all the best and I’m sure the club’s youth policy for 2011 will blossom under fresh and innovative ideas.<br>&nbsp;<br>“I’m proud of the group of players and coaching staff I have been privileged to work with. To see so many develop into representative players and more importantly to watch them grow as men, has been both satisfying and a real pleasure. <br>&nbsp;<br>“I feel I have given my best efforts in all regards during my time at the club. I wish the Sharks all the best in future years,” he concluded.<br>&nbsp;<br>Sharks CEO Richard Fisk was glowing in his praise for Stuart and said the Board’s decision to agree to Ricky’s request wasn’t easy.<br>&nbsp;<br>He also confirmed the appointment of NSW State of Origin and Sharks Assistant Coach Shane Flanagan as Stuart’s replacement in 2011.<br>&nbsp;<br>“Ricky Stuart is a unique and popular character with a great football brain and we have invested much in terms of planning and recruitment to support Ricky,” said Fisk.<br>&nbsp;<br>“He has built a professional and dedicated coaching team at the Sharks which places the club in a strong position going forward as we implement our succession plan by giving Shane Flanagan his much deserved opportunity as an NRL first grade coach in 2011.<br>&nbsp;<br>&nbsp;“It is rare for a club to be so well prepared for a smooth transition from one head coach to the next and this is something Ricky should be very proud of.<br>&nbsp;<br>“Ricky knows he has a job to do with the players until the end of the season and I’m sure that will start with another win on Saturday against Brisbane,” Fisk concluded.&nbsp; <br>&nbsp;<br>It will be business as usual this week and for the remainder of the 2010 season with Ricky Stuart continuing to work closely with Shane Flanagan and assisting him with the transition from Assistant Coach to Head NRL Coach.<br>
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