Cronulla cheerleader Jessica Colless had ties to the club long before she became an Oporto Mermaid in 2015.
Jessica’s mother Chris – a Cronulla cheerleader throughout the 1970s – paved the way for her daughter to fulfill her dream of being a Sharks cheer girl.
Having supported the Sharks since the club’s inception in 1967, Chris Colless first became involved with the cheer team at just seven years of age.
It was at the cheer clinics that Chris was introduced to baton twirling – an introduction that would stand to inspire her daughter decades later.
Chris Colless and the Cronulla cheer girls in the 1970s
Chris’ love for the Sharks has not wavered since hanging up the baton, as her passion for both the club and cheering descended through the family’s lineage.
Now fronting the Mermaids and dazzling the Cronulla crowd with her baton twirling skills, Jessica said some of her fondest memories stem back to the times spent at Remondis stadium as a child.
“The family hill and braving the cold. I do remember seeing the cheer girls and thinking ‘If I could do that, my life would be complete’,” she said.
In taking her baton act to all parts of the globe, the Australian champion has now brought her talents to the Mermaid crew and she credits her mother in helping her to achieve the goal.
“It’s something that I’ve dreamed of, and it’s something that I’m so proud to say. It’s surreal, and I can only thank Mum for being my inspiration,” said Jessica.
Like mother, like daughter: Chris shows Jessica how it's done
“It still hasn’t clicked that I’m a Mermaid. It’s like a big, professional family. I love it.”
Chris Colless was a member of the Sharks’ cheer squad that took to the SCG for the 1978 Grand Final against the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles.
Enjoying the added perks of being in and around the club that she loved, it was Chris’ time as a cheerleader that proved to influence Jessica in first attending the Mermaid auditions.
“We just did it because we loved it, and loved supporting the Sharks,” she said.
“It’s something that she had talked about for a while, and now, she’s here.”
Sharks members and fans will see Jessica and her fellow Oporto Mermaids next perform before Cronulla’s Women in League clash, against the Warriors, in Round nine.