Sharks’ Elite Development Coach John Morris was on hand at Cronulla High this morning, as two new playing fields and adjoining clubhouse were officially opened.
State MP Mark Speakman and Sutherland Shire Mayor Kent Johns cut the ribbon to declare the grounds open for play. The fields will be utilised by the Cronulla Sharks, Cronulla Caringbah Junior Rugby League Football Club and the students of Cronulla High.
With Morris training his development squads at the complex, the former Cronulla hooker said the state-of-the-art facilities would nurture the young talent coming through the Sharks’ ranks.
“They’re first class. Ever since we’ve been here the boys have been really impressed with it,” he said.
“The coaching staffs of all our junior players are wrapped to have this sort of facility to prepare their sides.
“It’s great to know that a little bit of bad weather won’t cancel your sessions.”
The $3M project is the first significant community facility to be designed and delivered by Bluestone Property Solutions as part of the Cronulla Sharks’ Woolooware Bay Town Centre development, and Morris thinks the facilities will encourage increased participation in junior Rugby League.
“If you’re a young kid and you’re growing up in and around Cronulla and you have these facilities in your backyard … I can’t see why kids wouldn’t be rushing to come and sign up for junior rugby league,” said Morris.
“We’re offering a facility here that is unrivalled by other sports and other codes. The access they’ve got to these first-class facilities is really going to encourage a great participation in sport.
“It’s just such a functional setup … to have that sort of access, some NRL clubs don’t have that. We’re certainly very lucky to have it.”
Sharks Group CEO Lyall Gorman lauded the ground’s opening, in saying that the new facilities directly align with the club’s values of being an integral part of the Shire.
“We’re continuing to hear incredibly positive anecdotes about the impact of these fields and as a part of our commitment to be a true community asset and make a major contribution to our region. We’ll continue to explore how we can use this model as a launching pad into other community-based programs and opportunities for us to engage more closely with our fans and all sections of our community,” he said.
While Gorman said the fields would serve as an ongoing commitment to junior rugby league, Morris said looking ahead and seeing what the future has in store for young players is an exciting prospect for Cronulla residents.
“The kids are very lucky, and it’s going to repay the community tenfold with the athletes that we produce out of this facility,” said Morris.
“They’ve got a clear pathway now, coming through the Cronulla Junior League system and on to our development squads, and on to our academies.
“There are little stepping-stones there for them to take, to hopefully one day achieve the dream of playing for the Sharks in the NRL. That’s the goal.”
Note: Channel Nines news produced a piece detailing the Woolooware Bay development and plans by the Penrith Panthers to follow suit
CLICK HERE to see the Nines News video story.
Also, in tune with Morris’s comments, the 300-gamer and recently retired Shark will be conducting the Super Jaws clinic to be held during the upcoming school holidays.
CLICK HERE for more information or to register for Super Jaws or Junior Jaws.