At their first meeting, young fan Conrad was somewhat overwhelmed to be greeted by one his NRL heroes when Ronaldo Mulitalo leaned over the fence following a game against the Eels at Bankwest Stadium.
Battling both Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia and Fusarium, a potentially fatal fungal disease which affected not one but three of his organs, young Conrad was in no mood to party that night, however he certainly appreciated the gesture when Mulitalo handed him his match worn jersey from the game.
With his condition improving somewhat in the months that followed, Conrad paid a visit to Sharks training midway through last year, enjoying a day out with the NRL squad then reciprocating in gifting Mulitalo a framed jersey from his junior league club.
The Sharks digital and community team combined to produce a video from the day.
CLICK HERE to see the video.
Since that time the two have stayed in touch and built up a special relationship, with Ronaldo and Conrad’s family getting together recently at Sharks at Kareela for a pre-Christmas meal and catchup.
The dinner celebrated a milestone for Conrad in his fight against his debilitating illnesses, with dad Andrew messaging the Sharks community department with some extremely positive news towards the end of August.
“Good Morning Alex, thought I’d share the good news today. Conrad completed his last block of chemo and is looking good. Really appreciate the generosity and support we’ve received,” Andrew reported.
A worthy recipient of the NRL’s Ken Stephen Medal, an award supported by ClubsNSW which recognises the player judged to have had the greatest impact in the community throughout the NRL season, Ronaldo is now back at training, fit and putting in the hard work as the Cronulla team looks ahead to 2022.
With Mulitalo returning from Queensland where the Sharks NRL team spent the final few months of the season and having overcome the broken jaw suffered in the round 23 game against the Wests Tigers, the Sharks at Kareela dinner represented his first community initiative since earning the prestigious medal.
Not only was the group treated to a meal courtesy of Sharks at Kareela and the award-winning Cove Bar and Grill, Ronaldo also presented Conrad with a goody bag featuring a signed 2021 Sharks jersey, one he hopes his little mate might wear at a few games next year.
And in making Sharks games more accessible in 2022, Conrad’s family will all be receiving a 2022 membership via the membership donation scheme.
The special Donation Memberships are generously provided by loyal Sharks Football Club members and are purchased to support Sharks Have Heart program participants. Last season participants in the Mega Jaws community program were also gifted Donation Memberships.
To donate a membership for the 2022 season, visit https://www.sharks.com.au/membership/packages/non-ticketed/donation/