The amalgamation was proposed towards the back end of 2019, unanimously endorsed by Sharks members on January 23, then along with the rest of the world the best laid plans hit as speed hump with the COVID-19 restrictions, but the day finally arrived with Sharks at Kareela officially opening for business earlier today.
A new home for the Sharks away from its Woolooware base, one which will continue to operate once the new Leagues Club facility is complete, Sharks at Kareela marks the start of an exciting new chapter in the history of the Cronulla Club.
Sharks Chairman Steve Mace, CEO Dino Mezzatesta and Leagues Club General Manager Elie Bassil, were joined by Sutherland Shire Mayor Carmelo Pesce and State Member for Miranda Eleni Petinos as the doors of Sharks at Kareela swung open to members and their guests.
“Yesterday was a good day for us, beating Manly and winning back the Steve Rogers Cup, but today is even more exciting and significant as we celebrate the opening of Sharks at Kareela as our newest licensed facility,” Mace said.
“We’ve been working overtime on having it ready and today is a day that will be etched into Sharks history. We’ve added a valuable asset while physically taking the brand outside of Woolooware as we truly become a Shire Club,” Mezzatesta added.
Ms Petinos, who after a tour of the refreshed Kareela Golf Club facility, echoed Mezzatesta’s sentiments about the positives surrounding the expansion of the Sharks footprint in the Sutherland Shire area.
“Today’s transition to Sharks at Kareela is a celebration of an iconic local brand and the role it plays in our community,” Ms Petinos said.
“The Sharks are a large local employer, so providing job opportunities at Sharks at Kareela is incredibly important whilst development occurs at Woolooware.
“Our community relies on multi-use facilities like this for employment and recreational purposes. Sharks at Kareela has a convenient location with lots of parking, great eateries and function space. I know that our community will embrace coming to this new home to watch a game and support the Club during the interim period.
“I congratulate the Sharks on successfully facilitating this transition during such challenging economic circumstances,” she added.
Mayor Pesce was another to welcome the Sharks amalgamation of Sporties at Kareela Golf Club at today’s official first day for business.
“The Shire is a big place and I think it’s fantastic, it’s great to see the Sharks brand expanding. When you see this happen, it means to me that the club is solid and looks like it is in a good financial position,” Cr Pesce said.
“Once you get the new clubhouse built in Cronulla, it is great to have this extension more towards the western side of the Shire.”
Sharks and Sporties members, along with the golfers who braved the wet and chilly morning conditions out on the Kareela course, came inside to get their first glimpse of the club facility which has been closed since the forced shut down due to the COVID situation.
Elie Bassil, the man in charge of overseeing the Sharks Leagues renovations and the Sharks at Kareela amalgamation, was thrilled to see so many patrons come through the doors on day one.
“Today has been a while coming, but it’s great for us to be able to open the door as Sharks at Kaeela and to provide our members with what we believe is an outstanding facility,” Bassil said. “It is new after being freshened up, is open seven days until late and we are undertaking all the protocols in making it COVID safe.”
Further to Bassil’s comments, Sharks at Kareela will operate from 10am until late, seven days a week, with the popular Cove Bar and Grill continuing to offer the extensive a-la-carte menu and quality meals those to have previously visited have come to expect.
The Sportsman lounge, coffee shop and main bar are again fully operational, with the function space also available for bookings, with all areas of the club adhering to the COVID-19 guidelines.
Caption - Lead photo; From left, Sutherland Shire Mayor Carmelo Pesce, Sharks CEO Dino Mezzatesta, Chairman Steve Mace, Leagues Club General Manager Elie Bassil and State Member for Miranda Eleni Petinos