In rekindling a relationship which saw the two clubs field a joint Premier League team in the senior NSWRL competition team back in 2005, the Sharks have signed an agreement to join forces with the Newtown Jets once again in 2015.
The agreement, which is for three seasons beginning in 2015, will see the team play under the Newtown banner and predominantly at Henson Park, with Cronulla contracted players bolstering the ranks to make up the Jets NSW Cup squad each week.
In signing off on the partnership both parties were confident the arrangement would develop into an extremely successful venture for all concerned.
“The Jets are a well-run organisation with good people involved, a Foundation Club with plenty of history and tradition,” Sharks CEO Steve Noyce said. “I’m thrilled we have been able to bring this partnership together and look forward to joining with Newtown in becoming a competitive force in the VB NSW Cup next year.”
Terry Rowney, a long-serving Director of the Newtown RLFC, a club recognised as being the oldest club in Rugby League in Australia, was most enthusiastic about the prospects for 2015 and beyond.
“The Newtown club looks forward to our new joint venture with the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks,”Rowney said. “We are confident of ensuring that our new partnership with the Sharks will work to the benefit of both of our clubs.
“The Newtown Jets also look forward to playing a major role in the Sharks winning their first NRL premiership. There are many players in the NRL today who have worn Newtown’s royal blue jersey during their careers, and our objective in this new partnership is to fully support the Cronulla-Sutherland NRL team win their first premiership title,” Rowney added.
“Newtown believes the future is very exciting for both of our clubs and we cannot wait for this partnership to get underway.”
While both the Sharks and Jets are out of finals contention, with Cronulla enduring a difficult season due to the massive injury toll affecting the NRL squad, recent results shows the new ‘marriage’ is set to unite the past two NSW Cup premiers.
The Sharks claimed the 2013 VB NSW Cup title when they comfortably accounted for Windsor in the Grand Final, while in 2012 it was the Jets who were crowned champions after getting the better of Balmain-Ryde in the competition decider.
In Newtown’s past ten seasons in the NSW Cup competition they have made the finals on eight occasions, including one premiership victory and two other Grand Final appearances.
While Cronulla Sharks players will turn out for Newtown each week, the partnership is set to be a mutually beneficial one, also providing a pathway for Newtown players to play in the NRL should their form and ability warrant.
In an indication of the potential opportunities, a number of Sharks NSW Cup players have debuted in the NRL in 2014, with Scott Sorensen, Junior Roqica, Pat Politoni and Tim Robinson amongst those to progress from part-time players to become members of the full-time NRL squad late in the season.
The new partnership with the Jets brings to an end a four-year NSW Cup relationship the Sharks have enjoyed with the Melbourne Storm.
“While pleased to announce our joint-venture with the Jets I would like to thank the Storm for the association which has been successful in a lot of ways over the past four seasons,” Noyce added.
“Our partnership with the Storm resulted in a NSW Cup premiership and their support, especially this season as we battled an unprecedented injury toll with our NRL squad that severely affected our NSW Cup team, was appreciated by all of us here at the Sharks,” Noyce said.