Grand final hero Michael Ennis will return to Cronulla next NRL season in an advisory role to help nurse the club’s next generation of hookers.
Ennis retired following his side’s maiden grand final triumph over Melbourne on Sunday, but he will remain involved with the club in 2017.
The biggest headache Shane Flanagan faces going into their premiership defence is how to fill the shoes of the wily No.9.
Ennis’s arrival in The Shire last year proved a catalyst to their success with Nu Brown, Wests Tigers import Manaia Cherrington and youngster Jayden Brailey vying for the hooking role.
The 32-year-old Ennis said he had agreed to lend a hand to Flanagan next year in helping mould his successors.
“We’ve got some great young kids, the two young Brailey boys (Jayden and Blayke), we’ve got Manaia Cherrington and Fa’amanu Brown so I’d love to help out those boys where I can,” Ennis said.
Flanagan said he wasn’t sure of what exact role Ennis would have but was keen to keep him involved.
“All the little things he does go unnoticed – his kick pressure, his line speed,” Flanagan said.
“They call him ‘The Menace’ but most of that stuff is from being aggressive and putting teams under pressure, all the things people don’t want to do.
“His influence on some of our younger kids will be massive.”