Cronulla chairman Steve Mace has defended the sacking of head coach John Morris, declaring: "We have no regrets, none."

And Mace even said he would debate any Sharks fan who doesn't believe new coach Craig Fitzgibbon can take the club to sustained success.

Cronulla has lost four successive games since Morris' dumping on April 13.

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The Sharks have been smashed over the past two matches by a combined score 88-14, following on from a loss to struggling Canterbury.

Breaking a four-week silence, Mace insisted his board "stood by" the appointment of Fitzgibbon, a decision which saw Morris leave the club just a month into the season.

"I think it's the change we needed to have," Mace said.

"Sitting on the fringe of the top eight when we had a one in 100 (year) draw last year is not what we want for the club," Mace said.

"We want sustainable success - like we've built off the field. We want to build the same level on the field and we think Craig is the first step for that.

"From our point of view, as a board, we made a strategic decision and it's more long-term sustainability, top four, being able to attract players that can get us there and retain us in that position.

"That was the decision we made and that's what we stand by. There are no regrets, none. John is a decent bloke who got a lot out of the blokes on the field.

"But we feel, with Craig Fitzgibbon, he is the man to take us to the next level."

 

Cronulla Sharks chairman Steve Mace. Picture: Sharks Media
Cronulla Sharks chairman Steve Mace. Picture: Sharks Media

 

Craig Fitzgibbon takes over next year. Picture: Robb Cox - NRL Photos
Craig Fitzgibbon takes over next year. Picture: Robb Cox - NRL Photos

Josh Hannay has stepped in as the interim coach since Morris' axing.

Cronulla has won just two games this year - a season of promise under Morris transforming into a Shire nightmare.

The misery continued on Friday night with a 48-0 loss to Penrith after a 40-14 hammering by Melbourne the previous week.

Hannay replaced Cowboys-bound halfback Chad Townsend with Matt Moylan in the second half on Friday.

"At the end of the day, there is a roster there … could things be better on the park? I think so. John had them doing better than what they're doing at this point and you can't take that away from John," Mace said.

 

 

"Fans have one side of the story and we will maintain our position. We aren't going to air any dirty laundry. We are who we are and we made the decision based on what we had at the table and what we could bring to the table.

"If anyone wants to argue with the choice of Fitzy, I'm happy to have that debate with them. We are very comfortable having chosen Craig.

"If you're winning, it's a master stroke, and time will tell if it is a master stroke. Would we have won these games if John was there? Who knows," Mace said.

"To go through any change in any organisation, mate, it's never easy and there is always a bit of upheaval. That's part of the journey and hopefully the fans will stick with the decision.

"As a board, we have taken a recommendation to make a strategic decision and we back that decision and think, over the long haul, the fans will be in a better place.

 

 

"This was more of a strategic position that we feel will get us that top four recurring sustainably. That's why we made the call.

"Off the field, we feel we have done extremely well and we have now made the same strategic decisions to football and I think the fruits will come."

The Sharks remain in contention to sign Adam Reynolds but the Souths halfback is also being tempted by a massive offer from Brisbane.

Cronulla play South Sydney - humbled 50-0 by Melbourne on Thursday night - this Saturday afternoon at Magic Round in Brisbane.

Originally published as Struggling Sharks have no regrets over axing Morris



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