Morris defends NRL record in tough season

Pamela Whaley
Cronulla are one of four clubs with a single victory for the season after losing to the Dragons

Cronulla coach John Morris insists the NRL hasn't seen the best of his coaching yet after a tumultuous two seasons in charge of the Sharks.

In a week where England rugby coach Eddie Jones was linked with the NRL job as his replacement, Morris has defended his record at the club following the Sharks' fourth loss from five games.

On Sunday night the Sharks were beaten 30-16 by previously winless St George Illawarra at Campbelltown Stadium, and the pressure on Paul McGregor's shoulders seemingly transferred to Morris in the process.

Speaking afterwards, Morris said the Jones report had blindsided him in the week, and cited last year's finals finish as proof he can do the job in difficult circumstances.

"I'm a young coach, that's for sure, but I think everyone across the game can appreciate the challenges that I've had over the last 12 months," he said.

"We've had massive challenges at the club with salary cap fines, had to let players go as a result of that, playing finals football last year, my first year as a rookie coach.

"I don't want to sit here and feel sorry for myself or anything like that, but I think I've done a really good job so far.

"We had a lot of injuries to our top five players last year and we still can't put our main side on the park at the moment."

Morris is battling to keep his side together after the shock of losing Bronson Xerri to a positive drug test, releasing Test centre Josh Morris to the Roosters and a growing injury list.

Star fullback Matt Moylan has played just two games this season with hamstring and calf injuries, and Morris has been forced to sign former Dragon Nene Macdonald from rugby league abyss to bolster the backline.

Among all the upheaval, Morris is confident he has the support of the club and insists there has been no mention of uncertainty of his position at the club.

"I'm working really hard," he said.

"We've got some unprecedented challenges around our club at the moment and we're all working as hard as we can to get through that.

"We had to release Matt Prior before the season started to help with our salary cap, we had to let Josh Morris go.

"There's some challenges there and the more the club can support me as we get through these challenging times, the better we will be in the long run."