Sharks Coach Shane Flanagan Resigns Citing 'Enormous Mental Toll'

After being deregistered and fined by the NRL last month, Cronulla Sharks NRL coach Shane Flanagan has resigned from the club, citing "an enormous mental and emotional toll" on himself and his family.

Flanagan, who led the Sharks to their first premiership in 2016, made the shock announcement on Monday morning.

"This was obviously one of the toughest decisions of my 36-year rugby league career to resign from the head coaching role at Cronulla. The last month has taken an enormous mental and emotional toll on my family and myself," he said in a statement.

READ MORE: Cronulla Coach Shane Flanagan Deregistered, Club Fined $800k

"I intend on responding to the notice issued by the NRL, however I have made this decision in the best interests of the entire club and the players to allow the best possible preparation for the 2019 season without constant speculation and uncertainty as to who their Head Coach will be."

Former Sharks player John Morris was been appointed as interim coach.

Flanagan was deregistered by the NRL in December, following an investigation into his communications with the Sharks during a period in 2014 when he was officially suspended for his role in the peptides and supplements scandal that rocked the club in 2013.

READ MORE: Cronulla Sharks Banned From Local Night Spot After Alleged Brawl

Flanagan thanked the club's board, management, fellow coaching staff and players.

"Without doubt, I will hold the entire 2016 playing squad, staff, supporters and unforgettable achievement to deliver the club it's first premiership, forever in my heart," he said.

"I want to single out and thank the incredibly loyal Sharks supporters for their on-going support and last but certainly not least, I want to thank rugby league fans in general for their overwhelming support and messages over the years and more so over the past month."

In late 2013, Flanagan was suspended as head coach for 12 months after a lengthy investigation into the Sharks' 2011 supplements program.

During that period he was banned from any contact with Sharks players, staff or officials.

But last month -- as the NRL investigated salary cap irregularities at the Sharks -- it emerged Flanagan had made contact with club officials during that time, mostly via email.

The NRL punished the Sharks to the tune of $800,000 in total.

Club chairman Dino Mezzatesta thanked Flanagan for his time as coach.

"Shane was our first premiership winning coach, he is the Coach of our Team of the Half Century and he has given exceptional service and dedication to our Club. He worked tirelessly to build our team and our Club into a competitive force and he will forever hold a special place in the Club's history," Mezzatesta said.

"While disappointed his tenure at the Sharks will come to an end, Shane can look back with pride on some outstanding achievements during his time at the helm."