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This week in history: Elle comes to town

Long before the South Sydney Rabbitohs paraded a Gladiator, Top Gun pilot and the God of Thunder, the Sharks showed true star power when international supermodel Elle Macpherson was on hand to present a very special gift to one of the Sharks' finest.

During this week, on May 15, 1993, Macpherson braved the elements to help celebrate club Immortal Andrew Ettingshausen's 200th game.

1993 marked a significant milestone for the club with the introduction of night football. Considered a gamble by many, the first Saturday night match saw a crowd of 12,850 pack the hill and stands at what was then known as Caltex Oval – now PointsBet Stadium – to watch the Sharks beat the Balmain Tigers 18-4.

The match also marked the Sharks' first win of the season having started the year 0-5. Despite the heavy criticism for the inadequate lighting, it was clear night football had a place in the Shire.

The following week, Cronulla followed up with a second win when they comprehensively beat the Penrith Panthers 26-12 at Penrith Park. Ettingshausen, who had started the season in the halves, was among the scorers. This game marked the local junior's 200th game for the club across all grades.

Cronulla chose to honour the milestone a fortnight later when they met the Newcastle Knights, during this week 31 years ago, in their Round 9 match.

Shooting for four straight wins, the club moved the match to the evening to draw on the success of the game played at home a month earlier.

In the days leading up, the Leader newspaper heralded the supermodel's appearance, publishing a number of quotes highlighting her support for the Sharks.

"While I've been overseas I've kept in contact with how the Sharks have been going," said the star, who was at the time filming in the Blue Mountains for her debut movie Sirens.

"It's an honour to be able to present Andrew with this award in his 11th year with Cronulla, and I'll be cheering the Sharks on for their fourth win in a row."

Despite the heavy rain, a decent crowd turned out to see the boys in the black, white and blue. ET, unavailable due to Origin duty, gleefully accepted the gold boot to add to an already impressive array of trophies and memorabilia. As was the custom with celebrity appearances during the early 90s, Elle kicked off to a bronx cheer before the game commenced.

The match, played in atrocious conditions, saw plenty of dropped ball but some enterprising football. Replacement winger Paul Evans scored a length-of-the-field try not far from fulltime to seal an 18-6 victory.

This wasn't the supermodel's only involvement with the Sharks during her father Peter Gow's time as the president.

In May 1990, Macpherson was honoured with Cronulla's No.1 supporter badge. The beauty, who spent a large portion of her childhood in the Sutherland Shire, was presented with the badge at a function held at Cronulla Leagues Club.

Macpherson poses with the 1990 first-grade team.
Macpherson poses with the 1990 first-grade team.

At the presentation, Macpherson remarked: "I feel really excited to be recognised as the top supporter of Cronulla." Macpherson was presented with the medal by club great Gavin Miller as well as a Sharks jersey bearing the number one on the back.

In turn, Macpherson presented club captain David Hatch, in his testimonial year, a special plaque honouring his outstanding contribution to the Sharks.

Chief executive Ron Massey best summed up the appearance of the supermodel: "She was simply beautiful, a lady in every sense ... and I didn't realise we had so many ugly players."

During the week, Macpherson confirmed: "I still have a tenderness for the team as I grew up with them – and my dad is a huge supporter."

Macpherson and David Hatch.
Macpherson and David Hatch.

With the side flying high at the top of the premiership ladder, we wonder if Elle has an eye on returning to Australia in October to watch the boys in a potential grand final.

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.

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