Ex-Cronulla Sharks coach Shane Flanagan has been drawn into the club’s salary cap rorts.
Ex-Cronulla Sharks coach Shane Flanagan has been drawn into the club’s salary cap rorts.

Gallen reacts to Sharks bombshell

Ex-Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan has been further drawn into salary cap drama at the Sharks, with reports emerging he emailed a list of undisclosed player payments to himself in 2017.

The explosive report details what could be the first piece of evidence that Flanagan was aware of additional payments to Sharks players - a situation that cost the club almost $1 million in fines and eventually his job.

The Daily Telegraph is reporting the now deregistered Flanagan sent the list of player payments detailing hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of illegal third party agreements from his private email account to his Sharks email address.

The spreadsheet is reported to detail agreements to seven star players who had won the NRL premiership the season before.

The Telegraph is reporting payments were arranged to Luke Lewis, James Maloney, Wade Graham, Valentine Holmes, Josh Dugan, Jack Bird and Chris Heighington, although there is no suggestion the players or their managers were aware of the salary cap breaches.

It is also unclear whether the players actually received the payments.

"Nothing that's been written today is new. It's all been dealt with by the NRL. The punishment has been handed down and as a club we're just trying to move on," said Sharks skipper Paul Gallen on Channel 9's Sunday Footy Show.

"As a playing group we can't change what's happened. I'm not trying to shy away from it, but it's out of my control. I can't control it.

"I'm unaware of Flanno's role in it to be honest. Flanno is a guy that obviously is a major part of the successful period of my career. I like him personally. Unfortunately he's been embroiled in it all and he's been heavily punished for it.

"As a club and as a playing group all we can do it move on."

The evidence was uncovered as the NRL Integrity Unit investigated the club's email servers after former CEO Barry Russell self-reported suspicious payments to the governing body totalling around $75,000.

John Morris has taken over as coach of Cronulla after Shane Flanagan was deregistered.
John Morris has taken over as coach of Cronulla after Shane Flanagan was deregistered.

The Telegraph reports the investigation identified $993,000 of unapproved financial commitments made to players over several years.

The investigation also revealed Flanagan had communicated with the club while suspended following the club's doping scandal in 2014, leading to his subsequent deregistration.

It is unclear how long Flanagan will be banned from the NRL, although it's believed he will not return before 2020.

News Corp Australia

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