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CEO Update - April 2021

Dear Members,
Welcome to the April edition of the CEO update as we cover off on a range of topics and issues after a busy month on and off the field for your Cronulla Sharks.

In continuing to give our members regular updates we have requested our various department heads to provide some insights as to their areas of the business in an effort to give you a closer look at the some of the activity within their areas.

Below you will see reports from Elie Bassil, our Sharks at Kareela General Manager, George Nour our General Manager Community, People & Culture, Rebecca Hughes our General Manager Commercial, and Ben Ross the Head of Merchandise and Membership departments.

Darren Mooney, our General Manager of Football, will also give a snapshot of the latest football news, not only in relation to the NRL, but also across all the teams and programs operating under the Sharks banner.

In relation to the Woolooware Bay Development, as reported last month construction of the Town Centre is well and truly underway and still on track for an early-to-mid 2023 completion.

As for the Sharks Leagues Club at Woolooware, the design concept is almost finalised and we will soon unveil the plans for what will be a first-class facility for members and guests to enjoy. The opening of the new Leagues Club will coincide with the completion of the Woolooware Bay Town Centre.

Also in an update on our return to PointsBet, we are working diligently to try and get the ground up to speed and compliant with NRL requirements as we look to host games again in 2022. We won’t bring you back to PointsBet unless we can offer an enjoyable game day experience while ensuring the stadium is comfortable and safe for all patrons. That work will continue as we look to bring you and the team ‘home’ next year.

While finally from me, it would be remiss not to thank John Morris for his service to our club both as a player and as a coach. We understand the decision to move in another direction with our coaching structure has somewhat divided opinion, however as our Chairman recently explained in his quarterly address, it was amongst the toughest decisions made throughout the tenure of this current Board and Management team.

As with decisions of this nature, it was made in the best interests of our Club, while trying to protect the interests of the outgoing and incoming parties and with decisions such as this to please and satisfy all concerned is largely unachievable.

As we bid farewell to John, and wish him well with his future endeavours, commencing from next pre-season we will have the opportunity to welcome another man of great character in Craig Fitzgibbon.

A former Sharks ball boy when his father Alan was our first-grade coach from 1988 to 1991, Craig has wonderful coaching credentials having worked under some of the best in the game and from our discussions, initial dealings and the due diligence conducted into his appointment, the Board and management are confident he is the right man for our Club.

In the interim, please throw your support behind Josh Hannay and the team, although it has been a tough run of late, the coaching staff and NRL squad are fully focussed and committed on turning our season around and the 2021 season back on track.

Thanks for your interest and continued support and for taking the time to read this update, where we endeavour to keep you up to speed with all things Sharks.

Sharks CEO
Dino Mezzatesta



Unfortunately, on-field results during April were disappointing, the NRL team beginning the month with a big win over the Cowboys, before losing three games in matches where we had winning opportunities.

I certainly join with Dino in wishing John Morris every success. Having worked with John previously, during his playing days and then as a Development coach, before my return to the Club this year with him then in the head coaching role, I have no doubt he has a lot to offer to rugby league and to the NRL in the future.

In the interim, Josh Hannay has fit seamlessly into the head coaching role, Dave Howlett and Daniel Holdsworth have taken on extra responsibility as NRL assistants and have welcomed their increased involvement, realising they have an important job to do for the remainder of the 2021 season. 

My initial dealings with 2022 Head Coach Craig Fitzgibbon, although limited, have been extremely positive. Craig comes to us as someone who has served a lengthy apprenticeship in a very successful football program and we are excited about what he will bring to our Club from next year.

Also during April, we re-signed Siosifa Talakai to a two-year extension. His unfortunate suspension was a setback for Sifa, but he is sure to be vital member of our team for the rest of this year and the two seasons to follow.

I can also report our Harvey Norman Women’s Premiership team, under the guidance of coach Tony Herman, have started their season a perfect four from four, while still on our Women’s rugby league program, the Tarsha Gale under-19 girls qualified for the finals and were competitive in their elimination final before going down to the Roosters Indigenous Academy team.

The results for our Matthews Cup and SG Ball teams were somewhat disappointing, with both missing out on the six-team finals series, however some exciting new talent has been unearthed. A number of our SG Ball under-19’s have been promoted into the Jersey Flegg team, who have enjoyed a reasonable start to their season in registering three wins, two losses and a draw in six matches played.

Recruitment and retention for 2022 and beyond will continue behind the scenes, with our media department to report any news through our various channels.

April was another big month for Sharks at Kareela and we thank those members and guests to have visited us recently for their patronage and support.

We can report signing on approximately 600 new members during April, made up from a combination of renewals and new members, the encouraging numbers due in part to our ‘Join and Renew promotion’, where new members go into a draw every Monday to win a Sharks Jersey. It has been a popular initiative and will be ongoing.

Sharks at Kareela continues be the Home of Sport in the Shire, with all NRL matches Live and Loud on the big screen in the main bar. Come and watch the Sharks, or any of the NRL games each weekend and enjoy the $24 Game Day Special Classic Parmi, which includes chips and salad and a schooner of House Beer of choice.

The Paul Gallen v Lucas Brown fight attracted a large crowd, as did Two-Up on Anzac Day and the Easter Raffle night where the lucky winners took home Seafood Platters and Easter Hampers.

In the recent School Holidays, we held a cultural awareness workshop, conducted by Aboriginal Elder Aunty Deanna Schreiber and delivered to children from around the Shire, the activity involving painting, music, dancing and education about traditional artifacts. Recently we were also honoured to play hosts to a 100th birthday function in our Greenview Function Room for James Burns. We presented James with a signed Sharks jersey as a gift and wish him continued health and happiness. 

During April and continuing in May, we will extend an offer for 30 per cent off meals and beverage for frontline and emergency workers every Tuesday, in recognition of their hard work and community service, the Thousand Dollar Thursday’s Members promotion will continue, giving members the chance to win $1000 simply by swiping their card at our Kiosk, and a reminder the Kids Club is available Friday and Saturday nights and for Sunday lunch.

On May 9 it’s Mother’s Day, so spoil Mum with a day out at the Cove Bar & Grill. Make her day extra special, open Lunch and Dinner, with bookings essential (Call 9521 5555 to book). And while at the Club why not stay for the Mother's Day Raffle for a chance to win a share of our indulgent and luxurious hampers for Mum. Tickets on sale from 3pm for a 4pm start.

While for a great night out, check out the Dinner and Show deals, which include a reserved table with a two-course meal. On Saturday, May 15, Sharks at Kareela presents A tribute to Joe Cocker and The Blues Brothers, then on the following Saturday the Australian Trilogy Show (a tribute to Midnight Oil, Crowded House and the Hoodoo Gurus). Go to the website at to book.           

We also have a special half-price hire for the Function Room when making a booking in May so please consider utilising our facilities for that function or event.

If you haven’t already, please pay us a visit art Sharks at Kareela, we are sure you won’t be disappointed by our facilities and service.

The Cronulla-Sutherland JRL Season Launch event was hosted at PointsBet Stadium on Saturday, April 24, with healthy registration numbers reported in pointing towards a successful 2021 junior league season ahead. 

Current CSDJRL registrations are currently at 4542, up by some 260 registrations, or 6.83% compared to the 2019 season. These numbers rank out JRL second in the Sydney metropolitan area, behind only the Penrith district.

Of the numbers, we are thrilled to report 1428 registrants are female, 3114 are male, with significant spikes between the 8’s to 15’s age groups across both genders.

Also announced at the launch event was Aramex as the JRL’s major partner for 2021. CEO Peter Lipinski and Chief Marketing Officer Cherie Kellahan were in attendance for the announcement. Ronaldo Mulitalo, Jackson Ferris, Royce Hunt and Club Captain Wade Graham represented the Sharks on a day where each local junior league club was represented.

In other Sharks Have Heart community news, the hugely successful Skills Development Program wraps up next Monday. The six-week program, which aimed to upskill young boys and girls ahead of the start of their 2021 seasons, attracted record numbers.

And also in junior skill development, the April school holiday clinics saw just under 100 youngsters participate across the Super and Junior Jaws and Mini Mermaids Clinics. The SDP Super Jaws program is run by Sharks NRL assistant coach Daniel Holdsworth and the club’s Talent ID and Pathways Manager Glenn Brailey.

In last month’s CEO Update we were able to report we had filled all our apparel partnership properties, an accomplishment the commercial department is very proud of considering the difficult economic times faced over the last 18 months.

Making the achievement even more significant is the quality of the partners we have been able to attract, with our sponsors a collection of respected international and local companies and brands.

In relation to our major partner, the Aramex half time Special Delivery activation has been popular, with lucky members so far taking home a pair of signed Blayke Brailey boots, a signed and framed Wade Graham poster and a VIP experience at the upcoming Dragons game.

In more exciting partnership news, our back of jersey sponsor Zambrero is soon to open a new store in Cronulla, with special member offers planned, with the Southern Comfort Legends Lounge a huge hit at our recent Netstrata Stadium game against the Bulldogs.

Despite the disappointing result on the field, all who attended the Legends Lounge thoroughly enjoyed the evening, where food stations, live music, prizes and giveaways made for a unique experience at the footy.

The Legends Lounge is sold out for the upcoming game against the Dragons, however tickets will soon be on sale for the round 14 match against the Panthers. Southern Comfort Legends Lounge tickets are available through Ticketek.

Finally, thanks to our 2021 Player Sponsors for their continued support, with a handful still available for the current season. If interested, please contact our Commercial team. Please email [email protected] to contact us.

Our Sharks Store at Kareela and Merchandise operations have been boosted by the appointment of Nadine Wilson as Merchandise Manager.

Nadine, who brings extensive retail experience from a number of sports, her last position being at the Bulldogs, will be a tremendous asset to our business. Nadine will be only too happy to sort out all your Sharks apparel and merchandising needs, either in store or online.

Also on the apparel front, stay tuned for the launch of our Indigenous jersey. With input from Local Elder Aunty Deanna and our indigenous players, we think members and fans will love the look and design.

Keep yourself warm watching the Sharks in the weeks ahead with the complete winter range now available. Check out the items on offer, then purchase either in-store at Kareela, on-line, at our Pop-up store, on site at every away game, or at the merchandise outlets at Netstrata Jubilee.

In another new appointment we introduce and welcome Nadine Frith as our new Membership and Ticketing Manager.

Coming to us from the FFA and with extensive experience working for various sporting organisations, Nadine will hit the ground running in assisting us to design and implement member experiences in offering greater engagement on gamedays. More on that soon.

The Sharks Membership team can also announce there will be a Members only Captains Run to be held at Coffs Harbour International Stadium ahead of our round 12 game against the Titans on May 30. We encourage local and travelling Sharks members to take the opportunity to watch the boys go through their final preparations ahead of the big clash on Sunday. Details and how to register will be communicated to members attending the game. 

We can also report that 2022 return to Pointsbet Stadium planning is well and truly underway and for those members who have stayed loyal during the past two seasons while using Netstrata as our home ground, we can soon reveal added benefits set to be included into next year’s Memberships.