Two years into his time at Cronulla, Craig Fitzgibbon has improved the Sharks significantly. The team finished one spot out of the finals in 2021, but under Fitzgibbon’s leadership, they have reached second place in the ladder. In total, Fitzgibbon has a 62% win record from his 50 games as coach, which is a promising start. However, their success has been contested, as they have had a favorable draw that has helped them.
Fitzgibbon’s approach to coaching has made the Sharks a distinctive team in the league. He has a strong public presence, a highly identifiable style of play, and a level-headedness in both defeat and victory. His tactics are based on high push supports and agile forwards, focusing on attacking footy, and he has been effective against overmatched defences.
However, the Sharks have struggled against elite defences, and their record in finals is 0-3. Their defensive shortcomings have been evident, as they have conceded more tries compared to the best teams in the league. While their attacking style is set, Fitzgibbon has emphasized the need for improvement in defense.
Looking ahead, the Sharks could benefit from additional strength in the middle, and they may need to adapt to the game’s increasingly offensive nature. As they continue into the 2024 season, Fitzgibbon’s coaching approach will be put to the test as they aim to overcome elite teams and improve their performance in finals.