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Shane Flanagan.

After resigning from Cronulla before a final determination was made on his coaching future, Shane Flanagan said he still planned to respond to the NRL breach notice which prompted him and the Sharks to part ways.

Exactly how Cronulla's only premiership-winning coach does that may have an influence on when – or if – he is able to coach in the NRL again.

Having already served a 12-month suspension in 2014 for governance failings during the peptides scandal which resulted in members of the club's 2011 squad receiving doping bans, Flanagan finds himself in the coaching equivalent of the situation faced by Todd Carney during his playing days.

Like Carney, who was sacked by the Sharks in 2014, Flanagan is unlikely to be allowed to return to the Telstra Premiership until any club wishing to hire him gains NRL approval to do so.

After being de-registered last month for breaching the terms of his 2014 suspension by maintaining a role in the club's recruitment and retention decisions, Flanagan has been given until January 31 to respond to the findings against him.

Flanagan resigns

However, it understood the NRL Integrity Unit has uncovered hundreds of emails between Flanagan and Sharks officials during the year he was meant to have no contact with the club – some of which detailed recruitment plans for the following season.

While Flanagan has the backing of Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who publicly thanked him for his services to the Sharks in a tweet on Monday, NRL officials are far less impressed. 

After Flanagan stated in an email at the end of the 2014 season that he had "no involvement in the recruitment process for potential players", it is expected that NRL CEO Todd Greenberg would now be hoping for some form of admission and apology from him.

Even if he does that, Flanagan may still need to head to Super League if he wants to continue his coaching career but there are currently no jobs available as the 2019 season is yet to begin.

Coincidentally, St Helens coach Justin Holbrook and Warrington's Steve Price had been linked to the Cronulla job after the NRL issued breach notices against the Sharks and Flanagan before Christmas but the latter has since extended his time in England until the end of the 2021 season.

Holbrook, who took Saints to the 2018 Super League minor premiership, may still be a contender if the Sharks decide to look outside the NRL in a move which could inspire a virtual coaching swap with Flanagan.

However, interim coach John Morris has impressed many at Cronulla since stepping into the role. He is also popular with the playing group.

Wigan have appointed Adrian Lam as coach for this season ahead of the return of club legend Shaun Edwards in 2020, David Furner has just taken charge of Leeds and Simon Woolford only gained the coaching reigns at Huddersfield midway through last season.

The coaching positions at Castleford (Daryl Powell), Hull FC (Lee Radford) and Catalans (Steve McNamara) also appear settled for now but having a candidate with Flanagan's record waiting in the wings will ensure pressure on any coach whose team is not performing.

Flanagan was engaged by Salford as a coaching consultant during his 2014 ban but the Reds, who are coached by Ian Watson, have financial difficulties and are no longer owned by millionaire racehorse owner Marwan Koukash.

 Hull KR (Tim Sheens), Wakefield (Chris Chester) and London Broncos (Danny Ward) are the other clubs in this year's Super League.

The views in this article do not necessarily express the opinions of the NRL, ARLC, NRL clubs or state associations.