Cronulla Sharks have appointed former Wigan coach Stuart Raper as their new coach. Raper has signed a two-year contract and takes over from Australian Kangaroo coach Chris Anderson, who was sacked by the Sharks on Monday.
"I'm the first local to do the job for a long time, so hopefully I can bring a bit of passion into the club," Raper said.
Raper is the fourth Australian to land a job with a National Rugby League club after extending their coaching credentials in England.
Brian Smith (Hull and Bradford), Matthew Elliott (Bradford) and Graham Murray (Leeds) all achieved success in Super League before securing jobs with Parramatta, Canberra and North Queensland respectively.
For Raper, it is a dream realised, having been first promised the post more than three years ago.
He was told at the end of the 2000 season that he would take over from John Lang but instead the Sharks opted for Anderson when Lang stood down the following year.
"That was a big disappointment for me," said Raper, who guided the Warriors to victory in the 2002 Challenge Cup final.
"But, looking back now, I can say that it was worth the wait and I got a lot of experience coaching Wigan.
"But to coach the Sharks has always been my goal."
Raper, who coached the Cronulla juniors before moving to Castleford in 1997, was appointed by Anderson as his assistant and to oversee off-season training while he was away on the Kangaroo tour.
Anderson was dismissed by the Sharks after a long running dispute with Cronulla president Barry Pierce.
Anderson seemed to retaliate for his son Jarrad not being offered another contract at Cronulla.
He ditched support staff, one of which was Pierce's son Greg, for the Kangaroos tour.Like