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Sharks coach Flanagan being probed by NRL


(AAP Image/Joel Carrett)

Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan may face another ban after the NRL integrity unit reportedly uncovered evidence he communicated with the club during his 12-month suspension in 2014.

The Daily Telegraph reports that Flanagan has been questioned after emails scanned from the Sharks' internet server as part of the NRL's ongoing salary cap probe raised investigators' suspicions.

A Cronulla spokesperson said the club would respond to the claims at a press conference on Wednesday.

An edict under the terms of Flanagan's suspension imposed after the supplements scandal that engulfed the club stated that the coach was to have no direct or indirect contact with Sharks officials and players.

The report said emails and phone messages during his one-year ban were uncovered and revealed Flanagan communicated with senior staff on issues relating to the 2015 season, when he was set to return.

Flanagan's case is believed to now be a separate NRL investigation to the salary cap probe which started back in August when new Sharks CEO Barry Russell self reported suspicious payments.

Comment is being sought from the NRL.

However, the ARL commission is expected to meet on Tuesday at NRL headquarters in Sydney to consider possible punishments over the claims against Flanagan.

The salary cap probe surrounding the self reported discrepancies involving up to $250,000 in payments from the 2015 and 2017 seasons are expected to continue into next year.

If Flanagan is found to have broken any rules he could face another ban and the Sharks a hefty financial penalty.

Cronulla were fined $1 million by the NRL over the supplements scandal with $400,000 suspended.

Flanagan is off contract at the Sharks in 2019 and it is believed the ongoing salary cap investigation has stalled Cronulla's bid to re-sign the 2016 premiership winner.

In another twist, it has been revealed Flanagan's son, Kyle Flanagan, could be lost to the Sharks if the NRL slaps the coach with another ban.

Fox Sports reported the 20-year-old Flanagan has a get-out clause in his new contract extension if his dad is not Cronulla coach.

The playmaker can reportedly walk away from the Sharks at the end of next season when his contract for 2020 and 2021 kicks in if his father is not at the helm.

The Flanagan claims are yet another blow for Cronulla.

In a nightmare off-season, the Sharks' Test flyer Valentine Holmes defected to the NFL before reports emerged the club had lost all three major jersey sponsors and was heading into 2019 with a $2-million commercial revenue shortfall.

The sponsorship blow reportedly forced the Sharks to sack 10 staff.

It was believed Cronulla had a major $6-million sponsorship deal in the works but it was scuppered in the fallout from a podcast in which Sharks stars Andrew Fifita and Josh Dugan used obscene language.

The potential jersey sponsor IKON Services Australia linked with Sydney Roosters instead.

The sponsorship shortfall came after the Sharks lost $3 million in their 2018 premiership campaign.

© AAP 2018