While Paul Gallen has been named to make his return against the Roosters at the weekend, it won’t be the Club Captain leading the side out onto Remondis Stadium.
Long-time Cronulla supporter Sammie Roberts will head the Sharks out on to the park on Sunday, fulfilling a wish she’s held for many years.
Sammie was diagnosed with autism at the age of five, and did not begin to talk until she was seven-years-of-age. In 2009 Sammie's mother passed away suddenly, and she turned inward.
No one had ever understood Sammie like her mother had. Sammie ceased talking with her friends and family – no longer able to communicate with those closest to her.
That was all until one day when Sammie and her family were all sitting in the lounge room, watching the football. The Sharks were playing and something clicked – Sammie immediately started focusing and started talking.
From that moment she has had an undying love and devotion to the team that made her shine again. Spurring solely from that game, Sammie began to smile and started to live happily again.
Fast-forward to today, where her bedroom is plastered with Sharks posters; her phone has countless photos with the players, and everything she wants for Christmas and Birthdays is Sharks related.
Sammie was invited to Sharks training earlier on this season, and now thanks to Sharks Head Coach Shane Flanagan, Sammie will on Sunday attend the game as a very special guest of the Cronulla Sharks.
Running the boys onto the field will be an experience to remember, and everyone at the Sharks hopes the once-quiet Sammie has plenty to cheer about come full time against the Roosters.