Between November 2013 and October 2014 the Cronulla Sharks committed 1830 hours to the Sutherland Shire and general rugby league community with school and hospital visits and support of various events, charitable initiatives and numerous worthy causes.
The Sharks ‘Community Squad’ involved players from the NYC, NSW Cup and NRL teams, with the group conducting 684 appearances in total, 482 of those being community related.
The biggest contributors in terms of Sharks Community appearances was headed by Michael Gordon (27), Wade Graham (27) and Sam Tagataese (25), closely followed by Paul Gallen, Ricky Leutele and Daniel Holdsworth (24), with the squad average being 18 appearances per NRL player.
The Sharks Support program dedicates a large portion of the community hours and appearances to School visits. In 2014 this was highlighted via the delivery of NRL programs including ‘Tackle Bullying’, Rugby League Reads, Eat Well, Play Well, Stay Well, and Backyard League.
Sutherland Shire events made up the other large proportion of Sharks community activities, with 22 appearances in all, including the Cronulla Spring Fair and Cook Classic, while 23 appearances were in support of our local area Junior League. The players also committed to Hospital visits (9 appearances), disability services (9 appearances), as well as servicing and spreading the Sharks message to regional communities such as the Riverina, Bathurst and Christchurch in New Zealand.
The Cronulla Sharks ongoing commitment to the community is also visible through the large number of donations given out annually in support of charities, fundraisers and a variety of benefit nights for those in need.
During the 2014 season, the Sharks donated over 170 signed jerseys, 45 signed footballs, 150 game day tickets to Remondis Stadium, 1000’s of team posters and stickers, plus a wide range of other Sharks material, including old playing gear which was sent to Papua New Guinea and rural indigenous communities. The Cronulla Sharks assisted the Rugby League community raise over $105,000 through these donations and as a direct result of fundraising opportunities provided at home games.
Also during the 2014 season, the Cronulla Sharks conducted and managed five school holiday clinics at Remondis Stadium, including two ‘Mini Mermaid’ cheer clinics, engaging over 500 kids in total.
In addition, the NRL All Stars Indigenous Funding saw Sharks Support commit to three youth related programs administered by the Sutherland PCYC, Project Youth and Endeavour Sports High School, with these programs aimed at supporting local indigenous youth in prolonging their high school education, in preparing for the workplace and further studies once they graduate.
Since 2012 the Cronulla Sharks have enjoyed a 90% increase in the player’s community engagement and appearance hours and look forward to increasing that involvement and building on recent achievements during the 2015 season.