Welcome to our CEO’s update for October as we again report a busy month as the NRL season came to an end, we ran a presentation night and Grand Final Luncheon despite, dealing with the challenges of COVID, and now turn our attention to the 2021 season.
As a follow up to last week’s quarterly address from our Chairman Steve Mace, from an operational perspective we provide an update for Sharks members and fans after what was an eventful month of October.
Our 2020 NRL season came to an end, we can say perhaps a little early for our liking, however the season on the whole was a commendable one considering the challenges we faced, we handed out the first Porter-Gallen Medal to our Player of the Year, held an intimate Grand Final luncheon and launched our 2021 Sharks memberships.
Significantly, during October our playing group, coaching and support staff were able to extract themselves from the NRL ‘bubble’ in bringing some normality back into their lives after a difficult year.
Our licensed club Sharks at Kareela continued to trade above expectation and there has been some activity and news to report on the Woolooware Bay Property Development and the refurbishment of our Sharks Leagues Club.
Thanks again for your support and for your interest in this monthly communication as we update you on the latest happenings at the Cronulla Sharks.
The Sharks NRL players and staff are on a well-earned break, although before we know it the 2021 season will be upon us with plenty of work taking place behind the scenes.
Some of our younger players will resume on November 25, with the remainder of the squad back on deck before Christmas.
We have three spots to fill for our Top 30 squad, with three development players also yet to be signed as the coach and our football committee continue to recruit for 2021 on identified positions.
We anticipate being able to announce a new General Manager of Football and an NRL Assistant Coach very soon, with a number of highly qualified applicants having expressed interest in the positions.
In relation to new staff we can confirm the acquisition of the highly credentialed Nathan Pickworth from the St George Dragons who joins us as our new Head of Performance, with his team complemented by the addition of an extremely well recommended Strength and Conditioning coach in Tony Grimaldi who comes to us from the Bulldogs.
Our Academy and Women’s teams will also be back to begin their preparations for 2021 very soon, with staffing in place and pre-season squads selected.
The NSWRL are expected to update us and confirm competition details later this week and we are forging ahead, with Jersey Flegg and SG Ball squads to assemble on November 9, Matthews Cup and Tarsha Gale on November 16 and the Harvey Norman Women’s team at a date yet to be locked in.
We welcome back some returning coaches for our respective Academy and Women’s teams, along with a couple of newcomers and wish all teams well for their pre-season training, both in the weeks leading into Christmas and ahead of their season’s getting underway early in 2021.
And in a final piece of news relating to our Academy program, the Sharks have introduced an under 16’s Junior Rep Pathways squad to continue player development and maintain our development pool.
Our Talent ID manager Glenn Brailey informs that this is a talented age group for us locally and to bring these boys in and introduce them to elite coaching will only enhance their development and benefit the boys as well as the Sharks program into the future.
Porter-Gallen Medal Night
While unfortunate we were forced to exclude some of the regular attendees from our annual Presentation Night due to the COVID restrictions on numbers, we can report it was an unqualified success as we crowned our first Porter-Gallen Medal winner.
Held on the field at PointsBet Stadium using marquees for shelter, Brett Kimmorley mc’d a night which celebrated our best performers from the 2020 season, with Shaun Johnson a more than worthy winner of the major award on the night.
Also pleasing was the attendance of the Nola Porter, wife of the late Monty Porter, their children Michael, Carolyn and Margo, along with Paul Gallen for what was the inaugural presentation of the award named in their honour.
Although it may have been a year which fell a little short of the expectations of our players and coaching staff, it was a year worth recognising, with the night a fitting end to the 2020 season.
In case you missed it, for a rundown of all our award winners from 2020, go to the following link CLICK HERE.
43rd Grand Final Luncheon
Again with the impacts of COVID we had challenges around holding our annual Grand Final Luncheon however we were determined to continue the tradition and conducted our 43rd successive event on the Friday before the Storm v Panthers Grand Final.
Limited to a small crowd at Sharks at Kareela, we hosted around 70 with a number of attendees having been at every one of the 43 previous Grand Final luncheon’s.
The feedback indicated all seemed satisfied and entertained following an afternoon where we had some wonderful speakers reminisce about days gone by and the long and rich history of our club.
Doctor Peter Malouf, our Sharks club doctor for an amazing 39 years, from the first season in 1967 through until 2006, recounted some of his fondest memories and favourite players, Alan Fitzgibbon, the first grade coach from 1988-1991, as well as our current head coach John Morris, captain Wade Graham and Football Club jack of all trades Mark Noakes, were interviewed on the day by former player Alan Wilson who did an exceptional job as master of ceremonies.
The food provided by Gina and her staff from the Cove at Kareela was first class and a good day was had by all.
Bring on our 44th Grand Final Luncheon, hopefully to a full crowd once again, in 2021
Our Commercial team continues to pursue a number of potential sponsorship leads and opportunities as we look to secure major partners for the 2021 season and beyond.
Discussions with a number of quality brands and organisations have been extremely positive, with hopefully some good news to report on the sponsorship front in the not-too-distant future.
What we can report is the encouraging response from multiple companies and brands in regards to getting on board and backing our Women’s and Junior rep teams.
Unlike most clubs, who roll NRL sponsors through all teams under their banner, we’ve been fortunate to secure independent partners for our Harvey Norman Women’s and Tarsha Gale teams, as well as for our Jersey Flegg, SG Ball and Matthews Cup sides.
All jersey and apparel sponsor properties are close to fully sold for the above mentioned teams and once confirmed and a jersey produced to showcase the respective partners, we will announce through our website and communication channels and give them the recognition they deserve.
One we can announce is Minespec Parts, who after their first year with the Club as Mermaids sponsor in 2020, have increased their involvement and this coming year, alongside EISS Super and Gecko Projects who return, will be associated with our Sharks women’s teams.
John Ryan Freight and Triple H also return as apparel partner of our boys junior academy squads.
Sharks at Kareela
As touched on in my opening remarks, Sharks at Kareela is powering along, with members embracing the facilities, quality service and food offerings.
However, to the many who have frequented the club you will be aware, we inherited a car park in very poor condition. On that subject I can report we haven’t gone back on our promise to perform a major upgrade.
We are currently working with Council and engineers on the car park resurfacing, however the project has become a little more complicated than first thought, given the fact we also need to remodel the drainage works.
We are close to having this approved and hope to start works shortly. We do appreciate your patience and understanding as we want to get this right and make sure once done, it is done properly.
Members will be kept informed and, in the meantime, please continue to utilise and enjoy the facilities and offerings at Sharks at Kareela.
Sharks store at Kareela
A gentle reminder that the Sharks Store continues to trade at Sharks at Kareela with a full range of merchandise available.
Store hours are from 9-5, Monday to Friday, and if you can’t get to Kareela during those hours, all merchandise items are available on-line.
We are currently running out our 2020 stock at up to 50 per cent off regular prices, so purchase that Christmas gift while stocks last.
2021 Sharks Membership launch
Existing members would have received communications from our membership department, while those who follow our website and Sharks social media posts will have seen and read about the launch of our 2021 memberships.
Memberships are available in a range of different categories, even new pet and junior league memberships in 2021, so there is something to suit all Sharks fans.
The players appreciate the support of the members and while we concede playing at Kogarah isn’t ideal nor our first choice, we urge you to please get on board and ensure Netstrata feels like a home away from home for our team next year. The best way we can do that is with a full complement of Sharks members in attendance.
And we are happy to say ‘the cap is back’ in a beefed-up membership pack for next year with all sorts of Sharks related items included.
After a considerable delay, works are about to commence on stage four of the Woolooware Bay Town centre following an announcement that Parkview Constructions will partner with China Construction Oceania (CCO), a subsidiary of a Chinese construction giant, to build the final stage.
Parkview's partner is a subsidiary of China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC), which is the world's largest construction company by revenue.
As we know stage four is to the east of PointsBet stadium and with an estimated construction cost of $400 million will include a mix of 255 one, two and three-bedroom apartments, Bay Central shopping centre, commercial offices, a 71-key hotel with serviced apartments and our revamped Sharks Leagues Club.
The shopping centre will be anchored by Woolworths, Aldi and Dan Murphy's with the development also including a $25 million upgrade to Captain Cook Drive.
The retail centre and rebuilt leagues club are expected to open in 2023, however importantly, we will work with the developers to make sure PointsBet Stadium is compliant, accessible and as comfortable as possible for us to host Sharks NRL games in 2022, as has always been the plan.
Thanks again for your support of the Sharks throughout 2020, we hope you have secured your 2021 membership and can count on your support once again in the New Year.
Please consider dropping into Sharks at Kareela if you haven’t already, I think you will be pleasantly surprised if visiting for the first time and why not pick up a Christmas gift from the Sharks Store while you are there.
While our NRL squad is taking a well-earned break, the work behind the scenes continues as we put the wheels in motion to make 2021 a huge year for the Sharks and trust you can join us on our journey.
Up Up Cronulla