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CEO Update - March 2021

From CEO Dino Mezzatesta, a March 2021 update for Sharks members and fans.

Dear Members,
Welcome to the March edition of the CEO’s update as we cover off on a range of topics and issues relevant to your Cronulla Sharks.

The season has begun, with a win and two losses from our NRL team, off the field it has been an extremely positive period, while we welcome a new senior staff member, with Justin Coulton joining us as General Manager of Marketing, Brand and Digital.

Justin arrives after having previously worked for the Panthers and Sky City in Adelaide, so is no stranger to hospitality or to football and the NRL and we are delighted to have him on board.

Justin Coulton
Justin Coulton

Our junior rep teams are deep into their seasons, the Sharks Women have started extremely well, the heavy machinery has moved in at the Woolooware Bay development and Sharks at Kareela continues to trade extremely well in exceeding our expectations.

Our Sharks Have Heart team has again done some great work in the community and we thank our members and fans for their support of our merchandise shop and retail operations, as well as for their continued support of the team and the club in 2021.

Plenty to report and a lot that will continue to keep us busy in the coming weeks and months.

Thank you for taking the time to read this update, where we endeavour to keep you up to speed with all the latest happenings here at the Sharks.  

 

Sunshine Coast relocation
It came with much frustration that our game on the Sunshine Coast was relocated due to the COVID situation in South-east Queensland.

Much work had gone into preparations for this game, from both our Sharks staff and from our hosts on the Sunshine Coast, however in the end it became an NRL decision which we have fully supported, one considered to be in the best interests of health, safety and in relation to current and future game scheduling.

While something that was out of our control, we share in the disappointment of any Sharks fans who had planned to travel to the game, and also those local area rugby league supporters who were looking forward to attending the match.

For those in town this weekend, as by now you are likely to be aware, we are hosting a double header, the Titans and Raiders to follow the Sharks v Cowboys, with members admitted free by swiping their membership card and tickets prices reduced. If you don’t have a ticket, CLICK HERE to purchase.

Help us turn the negative of the cancellation of our Sunshine Coast trip into a positive, by getting along to Netstrata Stadium this Saturday and by cheering our boys on to a victory.

 

Woolooware Bay Development
Construction of the final stage of Woolooware Bay is now full steam ahead. The strip out of the Sharks Leagues club building is complete, ready to have the new Bay Central shopping centre surround it.

Over the next few months we will see considerable changes to the concrete structure, with the ongoing construction expected to see concrete being poured every day for the next year or so.

The residential sales market has really kicked into gear with record sales achieved over the past few months. The opportunity to buy a first or last home has resonated with the market with the majority of purchasers being local Shire people. Leasing remains strong with 65 per cent of the centre already leased.

Completion of the entirety of the final stage of Woolooware Bay is expected in early 2023.

As for PointsBet Stadium, we are working through some issues as we push for a 2022 return. The critical areas and challenges to making this happen include car parking and making our broadcasting and media facilities compliant, however we remain committed to achieving this goal and to hopefully having you cheering on the Sharks at PointsBet next season.

We will certainly keep you updated on any developments in this area.

 

Sharks at Kareela
We continue to be overwhelmed by the support and patronage of Sharks at Kareela, which again traded above our expectations throughout March.

Those who have visited recently will have noticed the new furniture throughout the club and while I have mentioned it on a number of occasions, and we do apologise for the delay, we are close to finalising plans with council for the upgrade and resurfacing of the car park. Hopefully before my next CEO update you will have seen some major progress in relation to this important matter.

Still on Sharks at Kareela and in a thank you to all our frontline and emergency workers who were again called into action during the recent floods and heavy rain, we are offering 30 per cent off food and beverage every Tuesday (for a limited time) commencing next week. This is in recognition of their hard work and community service.

Sharks games, both home and away, are live and loud throughout the club and have been drawing outstanding attendance numbers, while I’m sure members and guests will be keen to cheer on our former skipper Paul Gallen when he fights Lucas Browne on April 21. All the action of the fight will also be shown live on our big screen at Sharks at Kareela.

The school holidays are almost upon us and our kids club is open every day during this period. We have the Cove Bistro specials and a number of other events for all to enjoy coming up during the holidays and then beyond. Come down to Sharks at Kareela to enjoy all the facilities and for more information, go to our website www.sharksatkareela.com.au.   

 

Sponsorship
The month of March was another big one for the Sharks commercially, with the announcement of a new major partner and the increased investment from another.

Following on from the addition of Aramex and Zambrero as major jersey sponsors, we were thrilled to welcome Southern Comfort into the Sharks corporate family as our back of jersey partner, while we announced an upgrade from PointsBet, who were fully committed to the club as front of shorts and stadium partner and will now also appear on the sternum of our NRL jersey.

We have now filled all jersey and shorts sponsorship properties for the 2021 season and are proud of the calibre of partner we have been able to attract.

At the Sharks we have a highly efficient commercial department and congratulations and thanks must go to Rebecca Hughes, Kylie Lucas, John Day, Brett Kimmorley and the team for their efforts in acquiring the sponsorships and servicing the needs and expectations of our partners.

Corporate hospitality is also tracking well for our home games at Netstrata Jubilee, however if you would like to attend a game in comfort, or perhaps entertain a client at the football, John Day will do his best to accommodate you. You can contact John at [email protected] and he will respond to all enquiries.

And just a call out and thanks to Aramex who came to the party and helped produce Wade Graham cut outs and posters for our game against the Raiders in making his 250th NRL game an extra special event.

 

Membership
While we thank those members who have signed on for 2021 for their continued support, for those yet to join, it is certainly not too late to get on board this season. 

Plenty of undercover seats in some of the best spots at Netstrata Stadium are still available, while we are also encouraging fans to take advantage of our casual ticketing options.

If a Sharks fan but not yet a member, get to a game, join us on the journey, we think you’ll find Netstrata to be a comfortable facility to play and watch the footy at and an excellent alternative to Pointsbet until our anticipated return next year.

Although this current week has been a setback of sorts, COVID restrictions have been beginning to peel back and as a result we will look to provide more member exclusive events and initiatives as the season progresses, in offering even more incentive to support the team, support the club and to be become a 2021 Sharks member. 

 

Merchandise
The shelves are stocked and the new range of 2021 Sharks merchandise is in store and available for purchase.

Get on down to the Sharks Store, located at Sharks at Kareela, and grab some winter gear with the colder months just around the corner.

Store hours are Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, while you can now also purchase merchandise from club reception at Sharks at Kareela.

All Sharks merchandise is also available on-line by visiting the Sharks on-line store - CLICK HERE  

Stay tuned to the Sharks website and media channels for specials and exclusive member offerings. 

 

Community
Again, it was a big month for Sharks Have Heart, with our team conducting a number of special community initiatives, our Skills Development Program (SDP) got underway and the Cronulla-Sutherland Junior League were reporting extremely encouraging registration numbers.

Earlier in March, Rachal Allan held a successful Indigenous Health Check event in partnership with health services provider Deadly Choices, with more than 20 youngsters taking part.

The Sharks-Deadly Choices partnership has been an extremely successful one, with local indigenous children the beneficiaries of the great work being done. For more on the Deadly Choices Health Check day, go to our website article – CLICK HERE

Then later in the month, a handful of our NRL boys participated in the World’s Greatest Shave, a national event which supports the Leukaemia Foundation. Heads were shaved, hair coloured, as our boys jumped on board to raise awareness and funds and to support what is a very worthy cause.

If you haven’t already seen it, CLICK HERE to see a Sharks Media video production from the day.

On the junior league front, we can report the local Cronulla-Sutherland district has climbed into second position behind Penrith, in terms of the largest registration numbers per junior league district throughout metropolitan Sydney.

Almost 4,500 boys and girls, men and women, have registered to play, which is a great endorsement of the work being done by our local clubs and junior league administrators in their efforts to provide sporting opportunity for all.

While complementing the work being done in junior league land, we believe we are playing our part in encouraging participation and enhancing skills, with our SDP program boasting record numbers in 2021. This year 156 young footballers are getting excellent coaching, led by former club legend Brett Kimmorley and supported by members of the NRL playing group. Conducted at PointsBet Stadium, the SDP has been the perfect lead-in to the upcoming junior league season. 

 

Football
Three weeks into our 2021 season and while results have been mixed, with one win and two losses, there has been a lot to like about our performances in giving us plenty of optimism for the year ahead.

The Dragons win was a great way to start our season, anytime of the year is a good time to beat our traditional rivals, the Canberra loss was a heartbreaker, with only goal-kicking separating the teams, then the manner in which we battled against considerable adversity against the Eels made everybody associated with the team extremely proud, while giving us confidence that there are positive results on the horizon.

Hopefully by my next report we will be close to welcoming the likes of Shaun Johnson, Siosifa Talakai and Royce Hunt back onto the field.

In other football matters, our SG Ball, Matthews Cup and Tarsha Gale teams have a big couple of weeks ahead of them as they attempt to qualify for the Finals, our Jersey Flegg Sharks have started their season strongly with two wins from three matches and the Sharks Harvey Norman Women’s team is two from two, registering a couple of impressive 50-point wins in their games so far.

As for our Knock-On Effect NSW Cup partner club Newtown, a round one win was followed by a two-point loss to the Eels, with all indications pointing to the Jets mounting a spirited defence of the title they won in 2019.

We continue to work on our recruitment and retention for 2022 and beyond, and while we won’t play out such negotiations through the media, we can assure Sharks members and fans they will be first to know should there be any player signings or developments in this area.

 

In closing
A thank you to those who attended our Sharks Leagues and Football Club AGM’s last night (Wednesday). Myself and our Board of Directors certainly appreciate the interest you show in your club and we trust we were able to answer your questions and offer as much information as we could about all things Sharks both on and off the field.  

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank outgoing directors Dane Sorensen and Laura Mackay for their valued contribution, while welcoming two new directors in Patrick Bourke and Matt McGrath who were introduced and inducted at our AGM last night. Our Chairman Steve Mace will touch on this in more detail in his next quarterly update scheduled for end of the month.

On behalf of our Board, Management, staff and players, we thank you for your ongoing support and hope it continues throughout the 2021 season.

Up Up Cronulla! 

Dino Mezzatesta
CEO