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Morris returning to NRL coaching ranks as Rabbitohs deputy

Ex-Cronulla coach John Morris will make his return to the NRL ranks next season as assistant to Jason Demetriou at South Sydney.

The Rabbitohs announced his signing for 2022 on a two-year deal as part of the club's succession planning around Wayne Bennett's exit at the end of this season.

Current assistant, former Dragons premiership-winner Ben Hornby has also extended his contract at Redfern for another two years.

Morris has kept a low profile since the Sharks told him in April that he would not have his tenure extended beyond 2021, with long-time Roosters assistant Craig Fitzgibbon signed to replace him.

He boasted two finals appearances from as many seasons in charge of the Sharks under the duress of salary cap penalties, Bronson Xerri's drugs ban and a brutal injury toll, yet was not seen as the coach to take the club forward by Cronulla's hierarchy.

Morris will instead link with Demetriou as support in what has historically been one of the game's toughest gigs - taking charge of a club after Bennett.

The veteran coach's future is uncertain beyond returning to Queensland next season, with expansion franchises north of the border all sizing Bennett up for a 2023 role should a 17th NRL side get the green light.

Demetriou is contracted as Rabbitohs head coach for 2022 and '23 and is understood to have taken on more and more "hands on" coaching duties this season in preparation for a long-awaited rise to the NRL coaching ranks.

"We’re very happy with the calibre of coaches that will be leading the club in 2022 and beyond," Rabbitohs head of football Mark Ellison said.

"For Demetriou to be able to call on a young, yet experienced group of assistant coaches for support is very important and we couldn’t be happier with the coaching team we’ve assembled with him.

"John has shown he has what it takes to coach at the top levels, as has Ben.

"They have a wealth of playing experience on their side but they have also developed a strong coaching background over the past decade to be the right men to appoint as assistant coaches to Jason."

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