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Senior Sharks wish Matts Cup boys Grand Final success

Craig Fitzgibbon praised their defensive resolve, while Andrew Fifita encouraged the group to embrace the occasion, with the two senior Sharks on hand at the final training session for the Matthews Cup Sharks on the eve of their Grand Final against the Wests Magpies.

The Sharks NRL coach and 2016 Grand Final winning front rower presented the players jerseys and spoke to the team, with the pair praising the achievement of the under-17 Cronulla side, while reminding them there is one more hurdle to clear in their quest to become Matthews Cup champions.

“Once you made it through to the semi finals the NRL boys started asking a lot of questions about you boys and how you were going, it wasn’t just the coaching staff who were interested,” Fifita said. “Now you’re there, you’ve got one game to go. Be in the moment, be the player to change the game.

“To see our youth back in the Grand Final is really inspiring to us. You are the future of our club,” Fifita added.

Fitzgibbon, who has looked to add a defensive resolve to the Sharks NRL side, expressed how impressed he was at efforts of the Matts Cup squad to win their way through to the competition decider at CommBank tomorrow.

“We aspire to be a defensive club and for you guys to concede just 86 points in nine games, in terms of the club you are number one,” Fitzgibbon began. “It’s an old saying, but defense wins premierships. If you defend well, your attack will flow.

“I’m looking forward to watching you play, you’re a credit to the Sharks, and I wish you well,” Fitzgibbon said.

Coach Brad Kelly thanked the parents and players for their commitment through a season which began way back with pre-season training in November, before assisting Fitzgibbon and Fifita in presenting the embroidered Grand Final jerseys.

Kelly and Sharks General Manager of Football Darren Mooney would recognise junior rep and pathways sponsors Sue Ryan from John Ryan Freight Management and Michael Anderson from Elite Legal, offering thanks and a small gift in appreciation.

Harold Matts team with Sue Ryan from John Ryan Freight Management
Harold Matts team with Sue Ryan from John Ryan Freight Management

Ms Ryan has made the trip from her Queensland base to be at tomorrow’s premiership decider.

Harold Matthews team with Michael Anderson from Elite Legal
Harold Matthews team with Michael Anderson from Elite Legal

John Salmon, from SBA, was unable to attend the jersey presentation, is also a valued sponsor of the Matthews Cup, SG Ball and Jersey Flegg teams and the Sharks junior representative program.

The Sharks take on the Wests Magpies at CommBank Stadium tomorrow, kicking off at 12.45pm.

For those unable to attend, the game will live streamed on the NSWRL website.

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.