The Cronulla Sharks were out and about in the community on several occasions in August, reaffirming that the Sharks are ‘More than just a Football Club’.
Highlighted by the Sharks’ ‘Indigenous Round’ celebrations in Round 21, the Club and its players again made concerted efforts to brighten the lives of those within the Cronulla community.
Sharks stars Ben Barba and Wade Graham enjoyed a visit to the Endeavour Sports High School, representing the Club as a part of its 'Repair to Ride' program within the local indigenous community.
The Repair to Ride program encourages student learning and development through active participation in hands-on activities, engaging the indigenous students from low socio-economic backgrounds to repair and recondition old and broken bikes, which are then to be donated to local community service organisations.
Also on the Indigenous Round front, Sharks outside back Mitch Brown lead the Club’s Sharks ‘Tomorrow’s Stars’ program. The program is a career-based initiative funded via the NRLs Indigenous All Stars Program, designed to teach students the value and confidence by creating positive learning experiences.
“We didn’t have all these programs and these opportunities to learn. Now in NYC, you have to have a job or be studying to play,” Brown said. “The push that these kids are having now, it would have made life after footy a whole lot easier.”
Sharks Club Captain Paul Gallen took time out of his hectic schedule to pay a visit to Panayiotis Stefanakis, a ten-year-old with mild disabilities affecting mostly his hands. Stefanakis is a big Cronulla fan; with the Sharks skipper his favourite player.
Gallen donated a jersey that he had signed to Pana, while offering him access to the dressing sheds and to run out besides the Captain at the Tigers game – an offer too good for Pana to refuse.
While hospital and fan visits are a thing not rare to Gallen, acting in a movie is – or was, until recently. Gallen spent a few hours being a part of the new short film ‘Baby Boy’ where he played a part in the filming as one of the trainers.
But perhaps the biggest community drive of the month came in the form of the Club’s ‘Unite for Kurt campaign’, in the lead up to the side’s Round 22 match with the Storm.
'Small Steps for Kurt' was organised by ex-Sharks first grade player Alan Wilson with the assistance of the Men of League Foundation, and saw the likes of Andrew Johns, Andrew Ettingshausen, Ben Ross, Daryl Brohman and Robbie Kearns make the walk, to raise funds for the Unite for Kurt campaign.
Elsewhere, Tinirau Arona, Ricky Leutele & Nu Brown attended a Fitness First Cronulla promotion as a part of the Partnership between the health club and the Sharks. The players promoted a few products and had the chance to meet a few fans for photos and autographs.
And in rounding out a busy month for the Sharks in the community, Sharks forwards Andrew and David Fifita attended Day 1 of the JRL Grand Finals at Remondis Stadium. The players attended for over an hour, and presented medals to junior team winners
Other community interactions:
- Myles Taueli from the Sharks NSW Cup Squad attended the annual Legends Shield on day two of the annual tournament out at Macquarie University. Taueli was on hand to sign a few autographs and hand out some giveaways during his visit to the venue.
- NSW Cup Squad members assisted with the member-only Reefy’s clinic, as the NRL squad signed for all the Reefy’s members as they came off the field. The juniors were able to watch the players train before the Melbourne Storm’s venture to Remondis Stadium.