CEO Update – July 2020

Update from CEO Dino Mezzatesta
Member Information Nights

Dear Members,
We had anticipated holding four Member Information nights per annum, with the aim being to allow members to ask questions and hear directly from the Sharks Executive.

We had planned to hold one of those nights in July however with COVID restrictions tightening once again it became impossible to have gatherings with significant numbers in attendance, meaning we were not able to hold our intended face to face meetings this month.

Our next Member Information night is scheduled for October, so hopefully we will be able to have a room full of passionate Sharks members in attendance at our next scheduled event at the end of October.

Therefore, for this month’s update, I have asked the Executive team, those who were scheduled to present at the information night, to update members on their respective departments, as a part of this monthly CEO update.

Update on Sharks at Kareela
Elie Bassil – General Manager Leagues Club & Sharks at Kareela

Firstly, a big thank you to all who have embraced our new Sharks at Kareela club since its opening on June 29.

We have enjoyed outstanding patronage, from both the Kareela golf and Sporties at Kareela members who have been most welcoming to myself and my staff, as well as from those Sharks Members who are visiting us in good numbers and have also appreciated the facilities we offer at Sharks at Kareela.

Sharks game days have been a feature, with an enthusiastic crowd watching the game on the big screen or on one of many televisions inside the club and cheering the boys on from afar.

Please continue to visit and take advantage of everything we have to offer, in a facility where we are going over and above in making sure social distancing guidelines are adhered to and we are COVID safe.

Prior to reopening we completed major works on the roof, while refreshing the interior with a repaint, the gaming area has been revamped and there is more to come.

In August we will be doing a resurface of the carpark, while also updating and providing additional lighting and the Sharks Merchandise store will soon be operating inside the Sharks at Kareela premises.

Also in August Cash Housie and Poker will commence, with more information available by calling the club and I encourage members and their guests to come and try the food offerings at The Cove. Gina and her team at The Cove are open seven days and nights, offering different daily specials.

Just a reminder that all members can also take advantage of a minimum 10 percent discount on all food and beverage items.

If you have been to Sharks at Kareela we hope you enjoyed your experience and we look forward to welcoming you back, if you haven’t visited us yet, please come and try our newest Sutherland Shire venue.

Members Update
Ben Ross – Head of Membership & Merchandise

On behalf of my Membership and Merchandise team, we would like to thank all Members for their patience over the last few months. There have been many challenges, which with your understanding and assistance we have been able to navigate our way through.

We thank you for your acceptance of the Loyalty and Rollover membership options which were communicated to all our Members. We were the first NRL club to present these options. Further to that, the Merchandise Loyalty credits and Merchandise credits continue to be available online.

We also aim to have the Merchandise shop open at Sharks at Kareela in late August, allowing members to see us in person and to be able to communicate more effectively in relation to all Membership or Merchandise enquires.

While the 2020 season continues to roll on, we are in the process of designing new memberships for 2021. In increasing the value for money options across all Membership categories, we are planning to once again include Members items such as caps.

Those who attended the Sharks v Dragons game recently will have noticed we responded to feedback in providing free medical grade face masks for all spectators. We understand the unease around Covid19 has stopped some Members from attending games but hope this gesture shows we are doing all we can to ensure as safe as environment as is possible under the circumstances.

Thanks again for your continued support, come and visit our Merchandise Store when it opens at Sharks at Kareela, go online at for any of your merchandise needs and we hope to see you an upcoming home game.

Update on Sharks Brand
Jeremy Hill – General Manager Marketing & Brand

The passion, pride and loyalty to our Clubs brand is not only evident from our committed fans and members but also within our Marketing and Brand team here at the Sharks.

There has been a lot of work taking place behind the scenes from our digital and media teams to deliver new and engaging content and we are pleased our members and fans are responding, we thank you for tuning in.

Recently the Club conducted a review of our branding, including approval for the updating of logos and design themes across the Sharks Group, with the first stage of this program resulting in the successful launch of our newest brand Sharks at Kareela.

The Sharks at Kareela logo represents the new look for our licensed club branding which will be extended with Sharks Leagues Club upon its reopening.

Our next step is the roll out of our new Sharks Have Heart community brand logo, while a refresh for the Football Club is planned to coincide with our return to games at Shark Park in 2022.

On the apparel side of things, look out for our 2021 team range which is in the process of be finalised. There are some new designs, along with some classics that we are proudly bringing back into the apparel range.

Despite the challenges of the past few months our brand and marketing programs are tracking well and with our NRL Team playing strongly and building momentum our fan engagement levels and audiences across digital and social channels have reached the highest levels ever achieved by the Club.

We thank you our Members as your support is one of the most important aspects of making our Football Club a success and ensuring we are the premier brand in the Sutherland Shire and a leading brand amongst the NRL clubs.

Sponsorship Update
Rebecca Hughes – Head of Commercial & Partnerships

While operating in a challenging economic environment, the Commercial team at the Sharks can report we have continued to be active in the market, have aligned with some key sponsorship and brand agencies and have worked overtime to be creative in adding value to our existing major partners, player sponsors and hospitality partners.

In recognising the ever-changing landscape that is the 2020 NRL season we certainly appreciate the ongoing support and commitment of all our partners who have been extremely flexible and understanding during what are unprecedented times.

We will continue to build on the strong relationships we enjoy with our commercial partners and look forward to getting back to some sort of normality, hopefully later this season and into the future.

In relation to our major sponsors, recently we welcomed Madimack into our corporate family, and they join front of jersey partner Ace Gutters Durakote and our other major partners in TFH, PointsBet, Sarraf Strata, Dynasty and Stewart Toyota. We thank them for their ongoing support and we are proud to be associated with each of our valued partners.

On the hospitality front, the feedback has been positive as to what we’ve been able to offer with the restricted numbers at home games, some even expressing that without a full house and overcrowding there has been a more intimate feel around their game day experience.

And as for the venue, the reactions have again been similarly positive, and while it isn’t PointsBet Stadium, Kogarah Jubilee has been accommodating and extremely well received.

Last but not least, in relation to our players sponsors, again we thank you for your support and trust the approach we have tried to take, which is working alongside our digital team to be creative and to add value through our social media channels, has provided positive outcomes.

Thanks again to all those who offer their generous support to the Sharks and please don’t hesitate to contact our commercial department should we be able to assist in any way.

Football Update
Sharks NRL Head Coach John Morris

While we head to Brisbane today to play the Broncos with something of a different-looking squad, we do so aiming to build on our performances from the last six weeks.

Five wins from six starts, with just the one slip up, has meant we have worked our way into top eight despite some challenges with key players being missing, in what has been a positive month of football for the team.

Tonight celebrate 200 NRL games for Aaron Woods, while we also debut a couple more young players in Jackson Ferris and Braydon Trindall, another two to have come through our development and pathway system. When added to Teig Wilton who played his first NRL game last weekend and Toby Rudolf from back in round one, that makes four NRL debutants this season and 10 overall since taking over as head coach at the beginning of 2019.

When you include Royce Hunt, Siosifa Talakai and Connor Tracey, three players to have debuted elsewhere but given an opportunity this year with us and it has been quite a turnover in experience with the players who have moved on, but I couldn’t be prouder of the commitment and attitude of the entire group as we look forward to continuing our upward trend in the weeks ahead.

It’s hard to single out players but mention must be made of our spine of Shaun Johnson, Chad Townsend and Blayke Brailey, who continues to develop and improve at hooker, our forwards have been outstanding and the energy of our bench, in particular Hunt, Talakai and Rudolf has helped lift the team when they’ve come onto the field.

There is a fair bit to play for over the back end of the season however if we can keep doing what we do well, while improving on all areas of our game, there is belief amongst the group that we can achieve some success.

We have adapted to the six again rule arguably better than any team, with the stats showing we have scored 10 tries, the most in the NRL, when taking advantage of this new rule, while offensively we are second in the NRL for tries scored and ranked the best for scoring percentage when in the opposition 20.

Breaking it down we score one try for every seven tackles in that area of the field.
So there is plenty to like about what we are doing, with a few aspects of our game that need attention, but we will be working hard and doing our best to compete with the leading teams in the eight rounds remaining and then in the finals that follow.

Thanks to all members and fans, this has been a challenging season for all concerned and we appreciate your continued support.

Women and Junior Pathways
Glenn Brailey – HNWP Coach and Academy & Talent Identification Manager

Obviously our junior representative and Harvey Norman Women’s competitions were thrown in chaos with the COVID-19 situation, however after a lengthy break we can report that we are back up and running with our pathways programs, while the women’s season has recently resumed.

The under 20 Jersey Flegg season came to an abrupt halt after just one game, and while the under 16 Matthews Cup, under 18 SG Ball and our girls Tarsha Gale team all managed to play six rounds, with the three on track to play a part in the respective competition finals, but they too were shut down and now turn their attention to working hard in preparation for 2021.

We have recently restarted our Pathways programs with maintaining core skills a focus, which is essential for our young players with the aim to continue the good development work carried out in our Junior Rep programs.

We have looked to maintain the environment where our players can better prepare for their upcoming Junior Rep seasons, while providing an opportunity to grow and improve.

Our program vision has been to assists a players’ development, towards the goal of potentially playing NRL for the Sharks, offering expert coaching in an effective talent development environment, one that maximises individual growth, personal development and performance in all our identified athletes.

We aim to be holistic in relation to long-term player development and growth, rather than chasing short-term results, in looking to produce honest, respectful, resilient and hardworking players that share a strong sense of belief in the Cronulla Sharks culture and values.

As for our Harvey Norman Women’s team, the season resumed on July 19 in what is a now a revised seven-round competition and we are pleased to report two wins from our two games in what has been a positive start. Our girls have a bye this weekend but will be training hard in an attempt to continue our winning streak in our round four match against South Sydney.

In addition to the 30 players in our squad we have included nine Tarsha Gale girls from our under 18’s team, where we hope to continue their development to where they will hopefully be playing the HNWP for the Sharks in the years ahead.

Finally, meetings have taken place with the NSWRL as to competition formats and academy programs going forward, with no final decisions yet to be made. When there is something confirmed we will certainly communicate any changes or developments through the Club’s media channels.

Development Update and in closing
In closing, just touching on the Woolooware Bay Development and the re-design and refurbishment of our Leagues Club, we will aim to provide a detailed update in member communications in the coming weeks.

In these unprecedented times there are understandably challenges involved with the construction and in conferring with our development partners, will be transparent as to the short and long-term plans and the latest happenings once all the information has become available.

Thanks to my Executive team for providing the above updates, I hope they provide something of an insight into some of the work being done behind the scenes.

Also thanks for your continued support as we look towards a strong back end of 2020 both on and off the field.

Dino Mezzatesta
Sharks CEO