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CEO Update - September 2021

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

Dear Members,  
Welcome to the CEO update for September, following another full month in lockdown but with some positive outlooks from mid-October onwards.  

With the forecast around the easing of restrictions and opening of businesses, we look forward to opening the doors and welcoming you back to Sharks at Kareela and to our lives returning to some sort of normality.  

The past month we have seen the NRL season for the Sharks come to an end and our players recognised for their achievements at an informal presentation event as we now turn our focus to the future and towards the 2022 season.  

A big emphasis as we return to PointsBet for our home matches will be around membership, with Ben Ross and his team working diligently to look after your needs and have you in the stands and ready to support the Sharks during the year ahead.  

In this CEO Update I will offer a brief review of our Football operations for the year, bring you up to date on the Woolooware Bay development and the progress of the Sharks Leagues Club, while touching on community, commercial and merchandise in detailing some of the major items relevant to your Cronulla Sharks. 

Thanks once more for your interest and for your ongoing support.  

Sharks at Kareela  
With NSW moving closer towards the targeted vaccination rate and the NSW Government’s Freedom Day, we are looking forward to welcoming you back through our doors at Sharks at Kareela.  

We have however been advised that upon reopening, patrons and staff can only access the club premises if fully vaccinated or medically exempt, with ClubsNSW working with the Government on the Service NSW “vaccine passport”. This will provide clubs and patrons an avenue to verify a patrons vaccination status, but before the “vaccine passport” is available, we will be required to verify using other means. If in any doubt and to locate your vaccination record, go to the following link – CLICK HERE   

Sharks at Kareela is COVID Safe, and we will continue to place the health and safety of our patrons and staff above all else. 

Now eagerly anticipating our reopening, first up will be an opportunity to celebrate spring with one of the biggest events on the Australian sporting and social calendar.  

Melbourne Cup Day is coming soon, so why not join us for a 2-course meal, complimentary champagne, with best dressed, best hats and lucky door prizes, TAB facilities operating and all the race day action LIVE & LOUD on our big screens. For just $80 for Members and $90 for guests (per person), Sharks at Kareela is the place to be on the first Tuesday in November.  

Again, in emphasising our commitment to health and safety of our patrons above all else, the Melbourne Cup 2021 function will operate within NSW Health Guidelines at the time of the event.   

And to ensure compliance, capacity restrictions will be in place, making bookings essential. So secure your spot today. CLICK HERE (then go to 2nd November or email [email protected] with your booking request).  

Also at Sharks at Kareela, the award-winning Cove bar and Grill is preparing to reopen in line with NSW Government’s Freedom Day forecasts, with a new spring menu set to mark the occasion.  

Seating will be limited, so make a booking now to celebrate that special event.  BOOK NOW – CLICK HERE 

The golf course is busy, with bookings required through the pro shop for tee times, golfing memberships are available and the course is looking a picture as we move into spring, while those yet to see it will be impressed by the car park resurfacing and lighting, the upgrade representing a major improvement to the overall experience at Sharks at Kareela.  

The doors of the Club are ready to swing open, it’s about to be all systems go, why not come and pay us a visit. 

Woolooware Bay Development Update 
Not a lot has changed as to the status of the Woolooware Bay development and the new Sharks Leagues Club, with plenty of activity on the site and construction continuing full steam ahead.  

Concrete is being poured, including on the 1800m2 Leagues Club deck towards the northern end of the structure and everything is now beginning to take shape. 

On the southern side of the structure work has commenced as they form up the Hotel.  

We will continue to update you on any further developments, however for now please see two outstanding images taken recently on where the project is currently at, you will see both the deck and hotel starting to come out of the ground.

With the playing group on leave and due to the Covid restrictions which will soon ease, official club community activities are somewhat on hold at the present time.  

That is not to say our Sharks at Heart staff aren’t hard at work behind the scenes in charting a course for our community programs, engagements and activations for late 2021 and into 2022.  

In some positive news relating to the community space, congratulations to Ronaldo Mulitalo on being a finalist for the prestigious Ken Stephen Medal. Now down to the last four, with the winner to be announced on Grand Final Day, we wish Ronaldo all the best for what would be well deserved recognition for the work he does and for his commitment to community causes.  

We believe we have NRL-leading community programs in place, with Ronaldo’s nomination and potential award an endorsement not only of him as an individual, but also of Sharks Have Heart and the outstanding work they do.  

As with all other areas of our business, the commercial team has now shifted its focus towards the 2022 season. Sponsorship and corporate hospitality is tracking extremely well, with all our major partners expressing their positivity and excitement as to the year ahead.  

In relation to corporate hospitality, we are taking expressions of interest for 2022 for our return to PointsBet Stadium. With facilities stretched due to the ongoing construction and lack of availability in the upper Peter Burns Stand next year, spaces are filling fast.  

Please contact John Day – [email protected]  - for all corporate hospitality enquiries.  

While in an exciting addition to the shops, restaurants and eateries in the Cronulla Mall, our back of jersey partner Zambrero has opened its first store in the Sutherland Shire.  

In your next visit to Cronulla check it out and sample some of Zambrero’s healthy and delicious food offerings. We are sure you won’t be disappointed.   

Wade and Gal certainly enjoyed their first visit to the new Cronulla Zambrero store.  

As we look forward with much anticipation to the 2022 season, we encourage those planning to purchase a membership for next year to get in early to avoid disappointment. While excited to be returning to PointsBet Stadium, due to reduced capacity as construction to the Woolooware Bay precinct continues, seated ticketing will be at a premium. All membership will be on sale beginning November 1. 

Those members rolling over and renewing for 2022 will receive email and/or phone communications in the coming weeks to detail their credits and to confirm seating.  

PointsBet Stadium will certainly be the place to be in 2022, so secure your membership today.  

While the Sharks Store on-line continues to service the merchandise needs of our members and fans, with the easing of Covid restrictions we hope to have the Sharks Store at Kareela opening soon.  

At the moment, an early to mid-October opening is anticipated in line with when the Sharks at Kareela licensed premises welcomes back members and guests.  

In conjunction with the Sharks Store re-opening, and with all merchandise items also available for purchase at the Sharks Store on-line (CLICK HERE), take advantage of a range of October specials. 

And still in relation to our Sharks Store and merchandise operations, we can announce that Adam Barnes returns to the Club in early October as Merchandise Manager. Someone with extensive experience in this area, having previously overseen this aspect of the business at the Sharks in years gone by, we have no doubt Adam will be an asset to our operations going forward.  

In welcoming Adam, I will however take the opportunity to thank Ben Ross for his tireless efforts in steering our merchandise business, while juggling it with his responsibilities in Membership, over the last two years. 

Our 2021 season finished when we were beaten by the Storm in round 25 and the Titans were then successful in earning eighth position following a victory over the Warriors.  

While there are a few wins and individual performances to look back on and celebrate, to finish so close to qualifying for finals after the challenges we faced throughout the season was commendable but also a disappointing way for our year to end.  

I must thank Josh Hannay for his efforts during the season. He accepted the responsibilities as head coach and then guided the team through the difficulties surrounding the move to the Queensland hub, with Josh certainly handling the challenges and all that was thrown at him with class and we are thrilled he will be back on deck as an assistant to Craig Fitzgibbon in 2022.  

Following our final game at an impromptu and casual event at the teams’ Brisbane Hotel, we announced our player awards for the season, with congratulations going to Will Kennedy for his outstanding year.  

Will claimed the Porter Gallen Medal as our player of the year, our Player’s Player and the Members Player of the Year award as he deservedly scooped the pool in being unanimously recognised as our best and most consistent performer for the 2021 season. While adding to the Club awards, Will was also nominated amongst some elite company for the Dally M Fullback of the Year, showing his talents were certainly noticed, not only by all at the Sharks, but by the wider rugby league fraternity.  

For more on our player of the year from the 2021 season, please go to the website article published earlier this month. CLICK HERE 

Without the opportunity to hold a junior rep or women’s presentation events, award winners were decided, contacted by our staff and announced through our website and social media communications. We have some outstanding talent in our ranks and congratulations to all award winners. Again, please go to our website where our Jersey Flegg, junior rep, Harvey Norman Women’s and Tarsha Gale Cup winners were detailed.   

In wrapping up our 2021 season, we farewell and thank those players now leaving us. To Aaron Woods, Will Chambers and Billy Magoulias, along with the players who departed during the season for various reasons, thank you for your service and we wish you well with your future endeavours. 

Before we know it, the 2022 season will be upon us, we know Craig is already planning pre-season prior to the players returning in November and we all look forward to what the new year might bring. 

In closing  
In concluding this September CEO Update, I take this opportunity to share the Sharks vaccination status across the group.   

Regarding Sharks at Kareela, 80 percent of our staff, as of the end of this month, are fully vaccinated, while 98 per cent have had at least one dose and by our calculations, 98 per cent will be fully vaccinated by the October Club reopening.  

As for our Football administration, 75 per cent are double vaccinated, 95 per cent have had at least one jab and we expect that number to reach 100 per cent by the end of the year.  

While our playing group and the coaching and support staff have also embraced the recommended vaccinations, led by our captain Wade Graham who became involved in an NRL game-wide promotion. One hundred per cent of the staff have had one vaccination at least and 80 per cent of the 36 players set to return for pre-season.  

Thanks again for your support, stay safe and please join us at Kareela when the Club reopens and at a Sharks home game in 2022.  

Acknowledgement of Country

Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.