Dragons fans can breathe easy, with Shane Flanagan and St George Illawarra agreeing to terms on a three-year deal that will see the premiership-winning mentor take charge of the club from 2024.
It comes a day after Flanagan was unanimously endorsed by the club's eight-member board, a constitutional requirement of the joint-venture, with deal ensuring the 57-year-old will take charge of the club until the end of 2026.
It officially ends a five-year exile from the head coaching ranks after he was deregistered by the NRL for failing to adhere to the terms of a 2013 suspension arising out of the Sharks supplements scandal.
It will also see a return to the club he debuted for as a player, having also served as an assistant coach and list manager in Wollongong in recent seasons.
Flanagan will see out the remainder of the year as an assistant to Anthony Seibold at Manly, with interim Dragons coach Ryan Carr to remain in place for the rest of the 2023 season.
"There is a fantastic opportunity at the Dragons to build something really special over the next few years," Flanagan said.
"While the Sea Eagles will continue to have my full focus for the rest of this season, I also can't wait to get started back at the Dragons at the end of this season and work on returning the club to the finals where it belongs."
It comes a month after the club's initial target Jason Ryles knocked back a lengthy offer to step into his first head coaching role to return to Melbourne where he's mooted to be Craig Bellamy's successor.
Club greats Dean Young Ben Hornby were also considered, with sections of the St George board holding fast to reservations over Flanagan until Tuesday's board meeting.
"We have full faith in Shane's abilities as a coach and are looking forward to welcoming him back to the club," Dragons chairman Andrew Lancaster said.
"Shane will add value in the role of head coach given the club's deep, talented and emerging playing roster. Shane is well-regarded within the club from his recent roles here, first as an assistant coach then as list management consultant.
"The time he previously spent with the club also gives him a high level of familiarity with our players, systems and pathways."
Flanagan is just the second premiership-winning coach to take charge of the joint-venture after Wayne Bennett who arrived in 2009 and took the club to the promised land a year later.
It emerged following the Dragons win over Souths on Saturday that Flanagan had spoken with reportedly disgruntled skipper Ben Hunt and assured him he'll be halfback on his watch, with the appointment set to ease discontent given the former Sharks coach's close relationship with several members of the playing group.
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