An open letter from CEO Steve Noyce to sponsors, members and supporters of the Cronulla Sharks
To our valued sponsors and members,
The last couple of weeks have certainly been a roller coaster ride for our Sharks family and as with any family, there are tough times, good times and times when the fabric of the family is really tested.
You are all well aware of the matter involving Todd Carney and the subsequent decision taken by the Club. These decisions are certainly never easy, but must always be made with the best interests of the entire Club at the forefront. I appreciate and respect that not everyone agrees with the decision and I acknowledge the many emails and letters I have received in this regard. I should also mention there have also been many supportive emails and letters as well. These communications again show the passion and engagement that people have for our great Club. Please be assured that the Club and the NRL will work with Todd and his support network to assist him in managing this important stage of his life and career.
You would also be aware that Peter Sharp has resigned his First Grade coaching position with the Club. I want to thank Peter for his commitment and for his hard work and dedication over the past couple of years and also for his total support of Shane Flanagan. In this regard I believe the meaning behind Peter’s comments regarding his reluctance to take on the Head Coaching role were made out of support and respect for Shane, coupled with the fact that he honestly believed Shane should have been coaching the Sharks NRL team this season.
Since Peter’s resignation there has been much media speculation regarding a replacement coach and it is certainly true that an approach was made to Tim Sheens (four time premiership winning coach and current Australian coach). However due to his commitments with the Kangaroos Tim decided he couldn’t devote the necessary time to successfully carry out the role.
We are very fortunate to have had James Shepherd as part of our coaching team for the past four years and last week he slotted into the Head Coaching position, ably supported by currently sidelined Sharks NRL player John Morris. John recently completed his Masters degree in Elite Coaching and coupled with his NRL experience has been an asset to James in recent weeks. Like all of us, you would be proud of the courageous come-from-behind performance against last year’s Premiers the Roosters and I am sure you would have noticed John’s energetic efforts as our Blue Shirt trainer. This week has again been BAU (Business As Usual) and everyone at the Club is supporting the current situation and coaching structure whilst management and Board consider the best options moving forward ahead of Shane’s imminent return.
Our match on Sunday at Remondis Stadium is very important for a number of reasons. NO ONE involved in the Club wants to end up with the wooden spoon and therefore it is crucial that we build on the wonderful wins against the Bronco’s and Roosters. You would also be aware of the Club’s immense disappointment and frustration with the scheduling we received for season 2014. Whilst we acknowledge the tremendous financial support provided by Channel 9 and Fox Sports, in a competition that involves 16 Clubs there must be a more consistent approach across all NRL Clubs otherwise the rich will get richer and the poor poorer. On Sunday we play our only 3pm Channel 9 game for the season at Remondis and it is imperative that we get a HUGE crowd to show the NRL, along with our media partners, what we can achieve if we are given a fair share of the Sunday afternoon allocations.
To ensure we achieve strong crowd numbers we have invested significant monies, with some addition financial support form the NRL, to advertise and promote the game. Last night we also organised, quite appropriately given skipper Paul Gallen’s involvement, to be the first Club to have access to the State of Origin trophy, with the shield to form part of the promotions on Sunday at Remondis Stadium.
To support the crowd numbers we anticipate I am pleased to advise that we will be opening additional food and bar outlets, we have hired additional toilet facilities and employed additional cleaning staff. On the field there will be two great games, while off the field there will be free face painting, free general admission for kids before 2pm, free showbags for the first 1,000 kids, free rides (dodgem cars, tea cup, free fall, jumping castle), kids on the field at fulltime of the NRL match and a world record “selfie” attempt featuring Beau Ryan. As an important part of the Sharks family I hope you, your family and friends can join us on Sunday to cheer on the Black, White and Blue.
As for our playing roster both this year and in moving forward, it is my great pleasure to announce that Sosaia Feki today extended his contract with the Club through until the end of the 2017 season. This is certainly great news for Sosaia and the Sharks and comes on the back of Fa’amanu Brown’s recent extension, also to the end of 2017. Darren Mooney continues to work with a number of player managers in relation to extending the contracts of those players we wish to retain.
Further to this in relation to our future, over the past week we have had four local players Jayden Brayley, Ash Nisbet, Connor Tracey and Jayden Walker participating in the Australian Schoolboy championships in Darwin. All reports indicate the boys have performed strongly and we have our fingers crossed their names may be called out in the Australian Schoolboys team to be announced later today.
Our sincere congratulations are extended to Club Captain and NSW VB Blues Captain Paul Gallen who led the team to victory in the 2014 series, bringing the trophy back to NSW where it belongs. Appropriately Paul was awarded the Wally Lewis Medal for Player of the 2014 Origin series, while congratulations are also in order for Luke Lewis for the important role he played in series victory by the Blues.
On Wednesday night our great Club had not only Paul captaining the NSW VB Blues but also Nathan Gardner captained the NSW Cup Representative team and our VB NSW Cup coach Tony Herman was the Assistant Coach of the NSW Cup state side. Congratulations are extended to Nathan and Tony for this great achievement.
On junior league matters, recently we had the pleasure of hosting the Jack Gibson Cup here at Remondis Stadium. This annual event is contested between selected First Grade teams representing the Cronulla and South Sydney Junior leagues. I am very pleased to tell you that in a great game the Cronulla boys won the match and our district Junior League now proudly holds the Jack Gibson Cup.
In further good news relating to our Junior League partners ALL upcoming Junior League Grand Finals will be played at Remondis Stadium in 2014. Sport is about hope and dreams and it is fantastic to provide opportunity for our stars of the future to perform on the same field used by the likes of Paul Gallen, Luke Lewis and Wade Graham.
When I sent my last letter I extended a big thank you to our 10,713 members. Today I send my special thanks to our wonderful 11,515 members (obviously a new record). And there is still time for people to join so please encourage anyone you know who is not a member to get on board with and become a member of the Sharks in 2014.
In the last week we have also had a couple of significant announcements with LabourHealth entering a sponsorship arrangement with the Sharks for the remainder of the season. On the back of that we then had Martec signed on as NRL sleeve sponsor, also for the rest of 2014. Our sincere thanks are extended to Regan Brown CEO LabourHealth and Criss Care Managing Director of Martec for their huge vote of confidence in the Club. These new sponsors join One Solutions, CUB, Blades, Reozone and Moits as major partners. The support of all our valued sponsors has been outstanding as has the hard work of our dedicated sales team. Very pleasingly, year to date we are up $1m on last year’s record sponsorship figures but still well behind the majority of other NRL teams. There remain opportunities to partner with the Club in 2014 and if you know anyone who might be interested please do not hesitate to contact Steve, Luke, Sam or Rowan in our Commercial department.
On the ASADA front, recently a large number of Essendon players received Show Cause notices and there are various legal proceedings that have taken place since that time. The day after the notices were issued new ASADA CEO Ben McDevitt was interviewed on the Sunrise morning show and responded that the situation was vastly different in the AFL to the NRL. Later in an interview with ABC, in response to a similar question, McDevitt gave a similar reply, stating he was not preparing notices for NRL players as he was not in a position to do so at present time. Unfortunately, those involved, their loved ones and the Club all remain in limbo regarding a conclusion to this difficult and draining experience which unfortunately has gone on for far too long.
In community matters our wonderful players and all at the Sharks continue to be committed to the various community organisations and initiatives who receive and very much appreciate our support. It is with great pleasure and much pride I reveal that as of 30 June we had already broken our 2013 record for community hours (1,257) with the figure now standing at a massive 1,323 hours over 436 events (with 4 months of our season still to go). Thanks and well done to all the players to have contributed and to our wonderful community team in Jess and George for their community engagement, organisation and management. In addition during the current school holidays we have experienced impressive numbers of children participating in our Junior Jaws, Gal’s Pals and Junior Mermaid clinics. Thank you to all who attended. We hope you had fun, learnt some new skills and enjoyed the time with our NRL players.
Please be assured that your Board and everyone at this great Club are totally committed to building strong and financially sustainable foundations to deliver continual success to the Sharks. You are a valued and important component of our off-field team and your loyal support and commitment will be a significant part of our success, which I feel confident, is just around the corner.
In closing, this week we have advertised for the newly upgraded position of NRL Physical Performance Manager. We see this role as being pivotal in ensuring that we manage all aspects of the Club’s Physical Performance. The club has engaged Global Elite Sports to manage the recruitment process, with those interested invited to view the advertisement which is listed on the website www.globalelitesports.com
I look forward to catching up soon and hope to see you on Sunday at Remondis Stadium for our family FUNDAY.
Best wishes and as always UP UP CRONULLA!!!
CEO Cronulla Sharks
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