AAP Rugby

Fifita says Sharks a force under Morris

By AAP Newswire

Andrew Fifita says history has proven the Sharks can survive anything thrown at them and he is backing his NRL side to flourish under new coach John Morris.

The latest drama to hit the Cronulla club was the pre-season resignation of coach Shane Flanagan after he was deregistered by the NRL for integrity breaches, with Morris taking over.

During his eight seasons at the Sharks Fifita has seen them fined $1 million for their involvement in a doping scandal and their club chairman as well as star player Ben Barba busted using cocaine.

Fifita was last year sanctioned for an expletive-laden rant on a podcast and then caused uproar when he appeared to blow up at Flanagan during a game.

But Fifita said the club was able to stay strong during all the drama to win the 2016 premiership and they would continue to be a force.

"It's been about staying away from outside noise and bunkering in ourselves and it's been like that from day dot," said Fifita, who is in Melbourne as part of the Indigenous team to face the New Zealand Maori in Friday night's All-Stars game.

"We're all in this together, we just unite ... you have to stand up.

"Personally, I can handle anything - any kind of controversy that comes my way I can still play through it."

Former assistant Morris got the nod to take over from Flanagan, despite his young age and top level inexperience.

But Fifita said Morris, who has had success with lower grade Sharks teams over the past four years, had the respect of the players and that was what counted.

"I feel like Johnny's done his time and he's the ultimate professional," Fifita said.

"He's really grown off field when it comes to coaching.

"He's got the players' voices and we're all backing him as head coach and he's been phenomenal during this pre-season."