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CEO Update – October 2021

Dear Members,
Welcome to the CEO update for October as we come out of lockdown and start planning for the 2022 season and to bringing our home matches back to PointsBet Stadium.

With the easing of restrictions and reopening of businesses, we’ve welcomed back our members and guests to Sharks at Kareela and while the NRL season came to an end for the Sharks early in September, plenty has gone on behind the scenes since, from both a football and overall business perspective as we prepare for the season ahead.

During October we conducted a couple of significant events, firstly a ‘virtual’ Members information night where 150 members logged in to be brought up to date with the latest happenings over the past quarter, then the following day we held a ‘post’ Grand Final luncheon for a Covid restricted 75 guests.

To continue a tradition that is now 44 years old, the decision was made to hold our annual luncheon ‘post’ the 2021 Grand Final and an outstanding afternoon was enjoyed by those in attendance.

The room was full of many long-time Club supporters, with Graeme Morrison having attended every Grand Final luncheon since its inception, Lyall Morris and Denis Stapleton estimate they have been at more than 40 of these events, then we had others such as Don Anderson, Barry Pierce, Frank Doran, Ian Cull and Russ Collins at Sharks at Kareela on the day, all long standing attendees and an outstanding afternoon was had by all.

We thank those all guests who came, along with our incoming coach Craig Fitzgibbon, new recruit Cameron McInnes, current captain Wade Graham, former skipper Paul Gallen, Sharks immortals Gavin Miller and Andrew Ettingshausen, as well as our 1988 head coach Allan Fitzgibbon, father of Craig, for contributing to the success of the event. The only negative was the fact that we still have to navigate around Covid room number restrictions and couldn’t open it up to a larger gathering.   

As mentioned, a big emphasis currently surrounds our return to PointsBet for our home matches, which we continue to work towards, 2022 Membership renewals and the opportunity for new members to join us next season will take place during November, and we have some exciting announcements in commercial. Sharks at Kareela has also been experiencing bumper trade since reopening and our new merchandise will soon be on sale and available pre-Christmas.

Add to that an update on Woolooware Bay, with a couple more spectacular drone photos of where the construction phase is at, what has been going on in the community space and the latest developments in Football, is all included in this month’s CEO Update.  

Please take the time read the below as we attempt to keep you informed on all things relating to your Cronulla Sharks and thanks once more for your interest and ongoing support.

Sharks at Kareela
We are thrilled to have been able to open the doors at Sharks at Kareela and to welcome back our valued members and their guests.

The positive response has been overwhelming, with Sharks at Kareela a Covid safe venue and I know Elie and his staff are excited to have you back and for you to be enjoying the facilities and the friendly service on offer.

The car park resurfacing will be welcomed by those who haven’t visited the club to play golf during the shutdown and we hope the members have noticed and appreciated the subtle changes made to the interior while we have been closed.

So in looking ahead rather than dwelling on the difficult period over the past few months, Sharks at Kareela have a number of events and member benefits we can look forward to.

It won’t be long and Christmas will be upon us, with members wanting to take the work out of Christmas Day encouraged to book now for lunch at The Cove. Spots will fill up fast.

Our Mega Christmas raffles will also be starting soon, with ham, seafood, toys and bonus Sharks jersey’s up for grabs.

You can book now for the upcoming Live Music and Dinner Shows, including the Golden Years of Bowie, the Australian Fleetwood Mac Experience, One of These Nights, which is a tribute to the Eagles and Doobie Brothers, or the Radio Ga Ga Show celebrating the music of Queen, with dates, information and booking details available on the Sharks at Kareela website. All Sharks at Kareela ticket sales are administered by OzTix.

Bingo and Cash Housie Sessions have returned and take place every Tuesday night, on sale from 6.15pm, and are also on Thursday’s and Fridays with a 9.15am on sale at 10am start. The popular Monday and Wednesday Poker nights are back on with $1500 in cash prizes guaranteed, while for fans of Boxing on Wednesday, November 17, Tim Tszyu takes on Takeshi Inoue in a huge fight night to be shown live and loud in the main bar area. 

Members can also take advantage of the NEW Freedom $50s, where they can win a share of $2,800 cash every Thursday and Sunday. Draws are from 7pm – 8pm, with just a simple swipe of your Sharks at Kareela membership card required to enter.

There is also a new Sharks at Kareela App, soon to be ready to be downloaded to your phone. The app is about to launch, with more information to be communicated to members in the coming weeks.

Check out the Sharks at Kareela website - CLICK HERE - for everything you need to know about upcoming events and member benefits, while golf remains busy and bookings are encouraged. Contact Scott or his staff in the Pro Shop if you would like to come down for a game. Call 9521 6279 or CLICK HERE to go to the on-line public bookings link. 

Woolooware Bay
Our development partners from Aoyuan International have told us that the Stage 4 construction continues to forge ahead with about half of the ground level concrete slabs now poured and the rest to come by the end of November.

They’re also getting Level 2 slabs poured and formwork installed on Level 3 in the northwest corner of the site.

By Christmas, part of Level 3 will have slabs poured, and we’ll see some good activity on the retail levels with work commencing on glazing and external finishes, while the structure continues to build above.

We’ll see the final form of the building take shape early next year as the podium shopping and carpark levels complete, and the residential buildings start to emerge.

Everybody is excited to see the final pieces of this community, which includes our new Leagues Club facility, begin to take shape, and we will continue to provide more updates from our development partners along the way.

Commercial
Last Friday our commercial department was able to announce the return of Ace Gutters as a major partner for 2022.

Our front of jersey partner for the 2019 and 2020 seasons, Ace Gutters is back as our sleeve sponsor on a two-year arrangement and we are thrilled to have them. Don Anderson is a wonderful supporter of the Sharks and we thank him for his continued involvement.

Wade Graham and Sharks newcomer Cam McInnes modelled the 2022 NRL jersey with Ace Gutters featuring on the sleeve last week and to read more please go to our website editorial – CLICK HERE.

While pleased to welcome the return of Ace Gutters, we must thank TFH, our sleeve partners over the past three seasons for their generous support. TFH have been loyal supporters of our Club and we are most appreciative of the backing they have provided.

Madimack, our back of shorts partner, has signed on for another two years which is also exciting and we are hoping to have more announcements relating to apparel sponsors coming very soon.

With our return to PointsBet in 2022 a key focus has been around our game day hospitality options. We can report that there are only limited opportunities still available with anyone interested encouraged to contact John Day at [email protected]

Finally from a commercial perspective, we are working with Coffs Harbour, the venue for our regional game against the Titans last year and are keen to finalise a multi-year deal. It was an outstanding exercise, the NSW mid-north coast region embraced the game and our participation in a variety of events in the lead up, and we believe it to be in our interests to extend the relationship. Stay tuned for more news on this front.

Community
With the Covid restrictions of the past few years considerably impacting the ability of Sharks Have Heart to get out into the community, we now look forward to the opportunity to get back out and about and to ramp up our community engagement in the months ahead.

Despite the challenges, Sharks Have Heart have continued to be an NRL-leading community operation, highlighted by Ronaldo Mulitalo being named the Ken Stephen Medal winner for 2021.

While it is an individual award, and we congratulate Ronaldo who was a much-deserved recipient, with his commitment to community causes second to none amongst not just our playing group but throughout the entire NRL, the Ken Stephen Medal is also an endorsement of the great work Sharks Have Heart carries out.

In further community news, we have recently been able to confirm the continuation of our association with Deadly Choices, the national Indigenous preventative health organisation.

Our Indigenous Programs co-ordinator Rachal Allan does a tremendous job in facilitating this partnership on behalf of the Sharks, maintaining a presence for Deadly Choices in recent months despite being unable to conduct the healthy lifestyle education programs in local schools or conduct the health check days. Instead Rachal has found alternative ways to interact, engage and assist with the health and wellness of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their families, with our partnership with Deadly Choices renewed for another year.

Membership
We’re coming home in 2022 and we want you to join us.

Membership renewals began yesterday, November 1, for both ticketed and non-ticketed members, with November 15 the deadline to retain your same seat for next season. You should have received information by now as to how to renew for 2022. Contact the membership team via email at [email protected] for any enquiries.

Those new members who have registered expressions of interest will have the ability to secure remaining seats from November 16, with all memberships available for purchase, in all bays, until sold out, from November 17.

There is a new design on membership items, while credit included with your 2022 membership that can be spent on Sharks merchandise via a new members portal, set to be launched on March 1 next year, will be forwarded with your 2022 membership. New Membership packs will be dispatched soon for a pre-Christmas delivery.

And pencil in the date of December 11 for our Members Only Christmas Party, offering the first chance to meet the entire 2022 Sharks NRL squad. More information will be communicated.

Merchandise
As touched on last month in relation to our Sharks Store and merchandise operations, Adam Barnes returned to the Club early in October as Merchandise Manager, bringing with him extensive experience in this space. We are confident Adam will be an asset to our business going forward, while assisting with all your Sharks merchandise needs.

I can report that the Sharks Store at Kareela has now reopened, currently operating under the NSW Covid guidelines. Trading hours at present are Tuesday to Friday from 10am to 2pm, with those store hours to be extended as we move closer to Christmas.

If you can’t make it to Kareela, all Sharks merchandise is available on-line through the Sharks Store - CLICK HERE - including pre-sales of the 2022 Home jersey, which launches early November. The 2022 home jersey features our new sleeve sponsor Ace Gutters.

Mid November will also see the launch of the 2022 Dynasty range, with the complete new range to arrive instore later in the month.

For those looking for a bargain, the 2021 and 2020 Dynasty range is currently on sale at 30 to 40 per cent off regular prices. Jump online or visit Adam and his staff in store while stocks last.

Football
While there has been no on-field activity during October plenty has been taking place behind the scenes as we prepare for the return of the playing group for pre-season training.

Our new coach Craig Fitzgibbon has given himself a head start with his preparations well underway, with the Football department staff scheduled to officially get together from yesterday, followed by the first group of players on Thursday of this week.

Cam McInnes was mentioned earlier in the update after he took part in the ‘post’ Grand Final Luncheon and his rehab from the knee injury suffered last year is going according to plan. He looks fit and strong and is very keen to make an impression, firstly on the training paddock and then on the field once the new season begins.

As for our other recruits, Nicho Hynes and Dale Finucane have a few more weeks of their off-season to go before they report for training due to the Storm playing deeper into the NRL Finals series. We look forward to welcoming them to our club when they arrive.

Our Football Manager Darren Mooney has been working hard with Craig to finalise our NRL roster and we hope to have a few announcements very soon.

From a staffing point of view, we have named Craig’s assistant coaches in Steve Price, Josh Hannay and Daniel Holdsworth and can also announce the most recent appointments to the High-Performance staff.

Scott Campbell, fresh off a premiership victory with the Panthers this year joins us in Strength and Conditioning, with Callum Ball, who comes to the Club from the GWS Giants AFL team, to be our head physiotherapist.

Scott and Callum will complement the returning performance and coaching staff, with their addition to ensure the players are well prepared for whatever the 2022 season might bring.

Sometime this month we are also expecting the NRL to announce the draw for 2022, which we will obviously reveal to our members at the earliest opportunity.

In Women’s rugby league the Sharks have made approaches to be a part of the NRLW competition at some point in the future and we await an NRL response, however in the interim we are excited about the squad assembled for the NSWRL Harvey Norman Women’s Premiership season next year.

Sharks Coach Tony Herman and recruitment and pathways manager Glenn Brailey have added three representative players in Hollie Wheeler, Shontelle Stowers and Sam Bremner to what was already a strong squad and we are extremely optimistic about our prospects in 2022. Read more about the girls in a Sharks website article published last week – CLICK HERE.

In junior reps and pathways, the Matthews Cup, SG Ball and Jersey Flegg boys, along with the Tarsha Gale girls, all return this week for inductions and to begin their respective pre-season’s. We have also assembled academy squads in the 16’s and 18’s age groups, in providing opportunity for even more of our local juniors to be exposed to top level coaching and to the Sharks way of doing things.

We may think this time of the year is a quiet period for rugby league and the NRL, however that couldn’t be further from the truth, as we put the building blocks in place to give us the best opportunity to be successful with all our teams, across all the grades, in 2022.

In closing
In concluding this October CEO Update, I will again address and share the Sharks vaccination status across the group. 

Regarding Sharks at Kareela, all staff who have returned to work, as per NSW Government public health orders, are fully vaccinated, with 100 per cent of our Football administration staff also double vaccinated.

Our playing group, who will return to training over the next month, are leading the NRL in terms of their vaccination numbers and percentages. As of the end of October, 98 per cent had received at least one dose, 91 percent both jabs.

Thanks again for your support and interest in the Sharks. Please continue to stay safe, join us at Sharks at Kareela now that the Club is back open and trading and don’t forget to renew your 2022 membership from this week.

Up Up
Dino Mezzatesta