Flanagan’s coach milestone leaves son ‘extremely proud’

Belad Al-karkhey |

Dragons’ Kyle Flanagan (c) will watch on proudly as dad Shane takes charge of his 200th NRL game.
Dragons’ Kyle Flanagan (c) will watch on proudly as dad Shane takes charge of his 200th NRL game.

Shane Flanagan has learned to appreciate the smaller things in life during his second ride on the NRL coaching roller-coaster.

At least, that’s according to his son Kyle.

Flanagan senior will chalk up 200 NRL games as a coach on Sunday, as his St George Illawarra side take on the Dolphins at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium.

He will become the 35th coach to reach the mark.

Being the son of an NRL coach is essentially all Kyle Flanagan has known.

He was still living at home when Shane guided Cronulla to the premiership in 2016, saw his dad de-registered as a coach in 2018 and then joined him when Flanagan senior returned to take charge at the Dragons this year.

The 25-year-old remains “extremely proud” of his father, who has guided St George Illawarra to ninth spot on the NRL ladder on his return to the elite.

“To be back in a head coach role … that’s what he loves doing,” Kyle said.

“Having a few grandkids … he’s just enjoying life and the smaller moments a lot more (as well now).”

The coach’s fingerprints are now clearly being seen at the Dragons, who face a crucial six weeks with matches against the Dolphins, Sydney Roosters, Brisbane, Penrith, Melbourne and Canterbury set to define their season.

The club are hoping to end the longest finals drought in their history, having not made the top eight since 2018.

Shane Flanagan.
Shane Flanagan will hit his NRL coaching double-century when the Dragons host the Dolphins on Sunday (Dean Lewins/AAP PHOTOS)

Flanagan last week landed his biggest fish since returning to the Dragons, with South Sydney hooker Damien Cook to join the club on a two-year deal next year.

Whatever the outcome of the 2024 season, Kyle Flanagan is happy to have his dad back coaching.

“He just treats me like I’m any other player, and he says it how it is,” Kyle, who made his Dragons’ debut in the season-opening 28-4 win over Gold Coast, said.

“He’s put a lot of trust and confidence into me, which is something that I struggled with over the last couple of years.”

It’s the second time he has played under his father, having made his debut at Cronulla during Flanagan senior’s reign at the club in 2018.