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When Chris Anderson signed with Cronulla, he stated publicly that he wanted to stay with the club for ten years. Cronulla needed a new culture, a winning culture, and Anderson was the man to provide. Only two years later he has found himself jobless, without a club to coach after having been unceremoniously dumped by the club he promised to deliver a premiership to in three years.
He will take the matter to court, seeking a million dollars in unpaid salaries and bonuses. To add insult to injury, he will also try to claim a further $300 thousand for an apparent injury to his esteemed reputation as a coach.
Unfortunately, the only one to injure that well developed reputation was Chris himself.
While Anderson's axing was not handled in a particularly professional manner by the Sharks board, they certainly never came out and spoke out against his coaching credentials or ability.
Anderson's reputation has only been damaged as a result of the abysmal way he handled the team in 2003. Following a well publicised theory that winning a premiership requires only two quality props and a halfback, Anderson took to the team's backline with a scalpel, surgically removing almost every player with any talent who wore a two, three, four or five on their back.
Chris McKenna, meet Jarrad Anderson, the coach's son. He will be your replacement next season. Paul Mellor, meet Laloa Milford. And so it went on.
With that scalpel Anderson succeeded in removing most of the healthy tissue, only to replace it with cancer.
When it came to team dynamics, he fared no better. The list of experienced players who fell out with him in such a short period of time is quite extensive. Paul Mellor and Chris McKenna were two, and they were followed up with the well known and well loved Dean Treister and Nick Graham. The latter pair were victims of the strict unspoken rule that you need to toe the line or you?re out quicker than you can say ?maybe we need to add some depth to the backline.? Treister and Graham found this out the hard way.
Anderson?s other shortcomings were numerous. He played favourites. Young Jarrad Anderson is a testament to this. He could very easily go down as the worst player to ever pull on a jersey for the club, and yet he somehow clung to a first grade position despite a complete lack of penetration in attack, and the inability to read anything in defence. Even his goalkicking was ordinary. His saving grace? Need I say it again? He was the coaches son.
Chris Anderson was at the helm when Cronulla was humiliated by seventy points at Parramatta. He was calling the shots and laughing about it afterwards.
Chris Anderson signed Don Tweddle then proceeded to play him in first grade. Need I say more?
In Chris Anderson?s time at Cronulla, his once semi-respectable record as a good coach was smeared and stained and now lies tattered on the muddy bed of Woolooware Bay. Chris Anderson now lays claim to a reputation of being a very poor coach, but it didn?t get to be that way because of anything the club said or implied. It got to be that way because Chris Anderson, while at the helm of Cronulla, was quite simply a very poor coach. The only party who has injured Anderson?s reputation is Anderson himself.