John Morris was “totally blind-sided” by reports that he is under pressure after Eddie Jones was linked with the Cronulla Sharks job.
Sharks coach Morris was stunned to hear that his position could be under threat following an NRL victory over North Queensland Cowboys last week.
It was then reported that England head coach Eddie Jones was being lined up for a sensational code switch to replace the 39-year-old Morris.
A 30-16 defeat to St George Illawarra Dragons on Sunday led to Morris being probed about talk of Jones taking his job, but he was defiant after the Sharks dropped to 14th in the ladder.
“I’m a young coach, that’s for sure, but I think everyone across the game can appreciate the challenges I’ve had in the first 12 months,” Morris said.
“We’ve had massive challenges around the club with the salary cap fine. We’ve had to let players go as a result of that.
“We played finals football last year in my first year as a rookie coach, so 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 and I’ve had a lot of injuries as well.
“We still can’t put our main side on the park at the moment. The Eddie Jones stuff obviously caught me by surprise and did a lot of people. I’m contracted until the end of 2021, so I can’t read too much into that read.
“Speculation and rumour, I can’t let that distract on me, I’m focused on this playing group and getting them going, we had a really good win up in North Queensland last week and we wanted to get better this week, but we obviously slipped up today.”
— NRL (@NRL) June 14, 2020
Morris called for the club to back him after he was pressed further on his future in the post-match news conference.
He added: “You’d have to speak to the club, there has been no mention at all to me about my position, it came from left field after our win last week against the Cowboys.
“We were singing the team song in the sheds and it’s reported that my job was under pressure, so that’s totally blind-sided me.
“But one thing is I’ve got a really good bond with the playing group and all of our staff and we’re working real hard. We’ve got some unprecedented challenges around our club at the moment and we are all working as hard as we can to get through that.
“We had to release Matt Prior before the season even started due to the salary cap, we let Josh Morris go. We’ve had some challenges there and I think the more the club can support me in these challenging times, the better we’ll be in the long run.”
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