Welcome to the second quarterly Chairman’s address for the year and one that follows our 2022 Annual General Meeting, where our Board of Directors was elected unopposed.
We thank the members for their endorsement and support of our Board and for the work we are doing in trying to make your club better every day. Everything we do has both the long- and short-term future of the Sharks in mind and the business we conduct and decisions we make are always in the best interests of you our members and of the Cronulla Sharks in general.
Your Board is made up of men and women highly qualified, a group with a diverse skill set, one well equipped to handle the challenges of the present and to also take your club forward in ensuring a sustainable future. Please take time to familiarize yourself with your Board of Directors, with profiles, featuring their qualifications and abilities, detailed on our Sharks website – CLICK HERE.
We thank outgoing Director Martin Kennedy whose appointed term came to end at the end of March this year. Martin will still be involved as he sits on our Investment Committee and can continue to add value in that regard as an independent member of that sub-committee.
I also take this opportunity to personally thank my fellow Board members, on behalf of myself and Mark Deutsch, for re-electing us as Chairman and Vice Chair. We certainly don’t take these positions for granted and like the Board as whole, will always act in the best interests of our members.
In addition to the above, our first meeting of the full board confirmed a three-year contract extension for CEO Dino Mezzatesta.
I think you will agree Dino has done an outstanding job since taking over the role in March, 2020 and is the right man to be steering our Football and Licensed Club operations. We have full confidence in his ability to continue to head up the business, work closely with the Board on executing our strategy and to lead our management and staff.
Following on will be reports from the various Board Sub-Committees relating to business conducted over the most recent period, however further to that, I thank those members and fans who have attended our opening four home games at PointsBet Stadium. The team is performing strongly and your support has made for an electric atmosphere. Please continue to support your Sharks, certainly at home and whenever you get the chance when they play away, for the remainder of the 2022 season.
At our April 2022 Board Meeting the Life Membership Sub Committee Charter was finalized and endorsed following legal review to ensure governance around this important area.
Given the prestigious nature of becoming a Cronulla Sharks Life Member, we will continue to consider applications that are presented by Members and Directors.
It was indeed a pleasure to see Barry Russell, whom has given so much to the Sharks both on and off the field, receive Sharks Life Membership from Chairman Steve Mace at the Annual General Meeting in March 2022.
Barry joins an illustrious and deserved list of those whom have achieved this honour.
It’s our continued intention based on merit, and with Member involvement, to propose candidates for Sharks Life Membership during 2022.
It’s important to note, that as we consider those candidates, exceptional service to the Club from those whom have played for the Sharks, but also those whom have given their time to support the Sharks off the field, will be assessed.
We are also looking at a celebration of those Life Members on a game day preceding a match, and we will nominate that in the near future.
The role of the committee is to regularly monitor the composition, skill set and effectiveness of the Board.
Following the declaration of the results from the recent election of Directors at the March 2022 AGM, the Board is confident that, in conjunction with Management, it has the composition and ability to navigate the Sharks in the right direction and achieve the strategic milestones that the club has mapped-out for the coming years.
Remuneration & Appointments Committee
With no Executive appointments in the prior quarter there was no activity during this period.
Our club is very fortunate to have best in market throughout our entire executive management team, and overall staff structure.
The club continues to work with our development partner Aoyuan and its building contractor Parkview Constructions, with the notable progress of the final stage of the Woolooware Bay Precinct.
The new Sharks Leagues Club will be the centrepiece of the precinct, boasting views of Woolooware Bay and the city, a revamped club to rival all others, a new outdoor 1,800sqm alfresco deck, state of the art gaming floor and function rooms.
The issuing of the development consent from Council for the club fit out is imminent, and we are on target for completion mid-2023.
In the meantime, we have delivered on the successful return to Pointsbet Stadium for the 2022 NRL season. Appreciating the importance to members in bringing our games back to our home ground, the Board and Management would like to thank its members for their patience and understanding, as we manage the use and operation of a live Stadium amidst the surrounding redevelopment works.
With the completion of the junior representative season we thank all players and coaches for their efforts and commitment.
Thanks to Tarsha Gale coach Johnathan Te Wara and his staff, while falling just short of the finals a number of quality players were identified and we look forward to many pushing up into the Harvey Norman Women’s squad and if successful in our application, into a Sharks NRLW team in the years ahead.
Similar thanks to SG Ball coach Dave Howlett and his staff, with a number of those players to now train on and play with the Jersey Flegg team.
We also offer special congratulations to Brad Kelly, assistant coaches Corey Willis and Fine Kula and the Harold Matthews Cup staff for an outstanding season. I believe the staff and players did a great job to reach the Grand Final, all players and staff showed a great improvement in personal development which reflected in the team performance. Brad did a great job in his first year in our Junior Rep system in adopting our values, culture and standards, adding a lot of value to the players and program. The boys may have fallen short of claiming the title however we are extremely proud of the efforts of the team throughout the year.
Congratulations are also in order for the Sharks players selected in the various teams for the upcoming City v Country matches to be played during the NSWRL representative round. We are amongst the most highly represented of all NRL clubs.
Management is also currently involved in negotiations to extend our arrangement with the Newtown Jets in the NSW Cup beyond this year and to also continue our support, partnership and commitment to the Cronulla-Sutherland Junior League, which comes with unanimous endorsement from the Football Committee.
Audit and Risk Committee
The Audit & Risk Committee has been working with Management on our licensing and gaming obligations to ensure the Sharks remain compliant and are up to date with staff training and all other matters related to operating a licensed venue. It has been publicly expressed that the regulator in NSW will be placing additional emphasis on enforcement of the rules at venues especially large, regulated Clubs.
In keeping with our high level of governance we engaged an independent expert to review our processes and to confirm all our management systems and procedures meet the requirements, which has been passed and given a tick of approval.
We now have the review of the Club salary cap for 2022 and submissions to the NRL. A standard practice and again we expect to be fully compliant. Once this is out of the way the Committee and management will conduct our half yearly Risk Assessment which is aimed at identifying any risks that we consider demand a mitigation plan or a prevention strategy.
The overall economic landscape continues to change regularly which was confirmed with the recent increase to the RBA Cash Rate, the first increase in Australia since 2010. Broader market financial commentary indicates there are further cash rate increases to come and this coupled with the upcoming federal election may present opportunities to invest in other investment classes or products.
The Investment Committee and Management continue to meet regularly and monitor our current investment portfolio along with possible opportunities to invest elsewhere within our approved Investment Strategy.
The investment made within the Metrics Wholesale Investment Trust continues to deliver returns above our forecast hurdles however no new investments have been recommended in the last quarter.
The start of the 2022 season has been positive on the field, while as detailed above, plenty of activity continues in all areas of the business. Again, we thank you for your interest and continued support of our great club.
Also on behalf of the Board and Management, we wish all mums a Happy Mother’s Day for Sunday and look forward to the Sharks helping you celebrate by scoring a big win over the Warriors.