Sharks To Stay In Cronulla

25 09 2013

Unfortunately this is not an exclusive breaking headline, but a letter to Mr. Dave Smith, NRL CEO

Dear Mr. Smith,

I know that you have said that there has been no thought to relocating any clubs at the moment, but with the news surrounding the possible relocation of Cronulla to southern Queensland, I’d like to present some reasons why it should never happen:

1) There is no denying that the Sharks are the great under achievers in the modern game, it’s an inescapable fact. But will moving the team 1500 km north change that? Queenslanders, with their current domination of Origin, are bred for success, so do you think that many fans in that part of the world will adopt a team that is 0 from 46?

2) What about players who have signed on with Cronulla and have young families? They would have signed with Cronulla thinking they could raise their family in Sydney. So will they be willing to pack up and make the trek north or will they want to opt out of their contract to sign with another Sydney team if location was their reason for signing in the first place?

3) When St. George merged with Illawarra and Balmain with Wests, I can imagine that it would have been hard on the supporters. But a small consolation for them was that they would get to see the merger play at the same ground as which ever team it was that they were following before. Will Sharks fans still get to see their team play at Shark Park (sorry, Remondis Stadium) 3 or 4 times a year?

This is not wanted thank you

This is not wanted thank you

4) Why south Queensland? The Central Coast has been crying out for their own team for years. They already have a stadium (Bluetounge) that is used for league and it would be easier for existing Shark fans to travel to.

5) How do you tell young kids who support the team that they can no longer go and see the Sharks play because the family can’t make it to Queensland every other weekend?

So please Mr. Smith, keep the Sharks in the Shire where they belong.

Sincerely,

A One-Eyed Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks supporter.

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Getting The Gong In The ‘Gong

18 08 2013

The scene: The Dragons dwindling down the bottom of the ladder in 14th, and missing their strikes players Merrin and Dugan (among others) to injury. The Sharks up in 6th coming off the back of a 4 point loss to Newcastle, but with a near full squad, only Graham out injured, and mentally battling the ongoing ASADA investigations.

The view from my seat.

The view from my seat.

History was against the Sharks, having not won in Wollongong since ’89 (but while that’s 24 years, it’s not 24 games as the Sharks don’t travel down every season). The TAB doesn’t look at history though and had installed the Sharks $1.25 favourites (Dragons were out at $4).

So how do you think I felt as Sharks fan when the Dragons raced out to a 12-0 in about 7 minutes? Clearly it wasn’t following the script that I had written in my head.

I went to high school with this guy (K. Brennan, Holden Cup player)

I went to high school with this guy (K. Brennan, Holden Cup player)

But all was to upward after half-time. After trailing 18-6 at the break (Pomeroy scored the only try for the Sharks in the first half. The number on the back of my jersey just so happened to be that of Pomeroy’s too. It was 3).

I thought Feki had scored in the corner in the opening exchanges after he wrestles his way over, but it was pulled back for a forward pass. That was the second try the Sharks had been disallowed after Gallen was denied for an obstruction.

Some ground was clawed back after De Gois crossed after about an hour and Carney was able convert, making it 18-12.

Ryan crossed in the right hand corner with a bit fortune on his side. But because of the tough angle of the kick, Carney missed leaving it 18-16 to the Dragons. After that, I honestly thought that it was game over, knowing that the Dragons can grind out a win just as well as the Sharks. And the Sharks aren’t really renowned for their attacking ability. But this is 2013 and the Sharks have arguably the best all round line-up of my life time.

90 seconds were on the clock and still it was the Dragons by 2, and a miracle was about to unfold. Andrew Fifita was to out-sprint some outside backs and score the match winning try. Or so I thought. The ref had gone upstairs, my sense of relief had been replaced by anxiety. But he ruled try and just wanted to check onside and grounding.

Luke Lewis after the game

Luke Lewis after the game

My seating position wasn’t the ideal place to see the big screen, unless it was just my eye-sight (which is always a possibility – ed.) However, on the hill in front of the big screen was a decent sized contingent of Sharks fans, so when they went up after all replays, I knew it was good.

And it was! Finally, we had finally won in the ‘Gong. I have been to numerous NRL games in my life, but only four where I genuinely cared for the result. The first time I saw Sharks at Wollongong (we lost, I think it was 18-4). When I went to the State of Origin in Sydney (QLD won 28-24. Again, I think that was the score). And last year when the Sharks came back to the ‘Gong and we lost 16-10 (I’m sure that was the score, you tend to forget these things when your team loses).

So last night was the first time I left a stadium genuinely overjoyed. Especially considering I was the ‘enemy’ and my friend, ‘Charlie’, was a Dragons supporter and had a bit of a flutter on the game given the good return the Dragons were offering.

So now that I can tick “See the Sharks win” of my to-do list, I now have to go to a game at Cronulla and watch the team win up there so when I start belting out the team song I won’t be given the evils.

“Up, up Cronulla. The boys in the Black, White and Blue…..”





Video Killed The Football Star

4 06 2013

Seeing as tonight is the first State of Origin game, I may as well talk about that. At least I can kind of be positive.

A few people and I agree that we don’t like the video referees much in the NRL but we all reckon that this years system (where the on-filed ref makes his decision before going up stairs) is much better.

However, I still think it’s too much. Why could the game not adopt a cricket style referral system? The ref makes his decision as he sees it. But each team gets one challenge per game. So if a ref says it was held up, the team denied can choose to challenge the decision. If it comes back ‘No Try’, that team has no more challenges for the game, but if they are successful, they get another.

This would make referee’s decisions the ones that stand and might stop players hassling the ref, helping to further improve the family friendly image the game wants.

And why is it that the video referee can’t adjudicate on a forward pass? He can make a call about a knock-on, so what’s the difference? In both instances the ball travels in a forward direction.

Another alternative to phase out the video referee is to have more on-field refs. Bear with me here. We already have 2 referees on the field, and the 2 touch judges. But why not go further and have an ‘in goal’ referee? This mean that when a potential try is scored there will be 5 sets of eyes watching the action as it unfolds. It works for the AFL. Admitedly though, scoring in AFL is drastically different to NRL.

The good news for me at the moment is work hasn’t rung me yet. The bad news is it’s only 9:58. And yes, I am wearing a blue shirt today.

According to the published date on the post, it’s still the 4/6/13, but where I am it’s actually 5/6/13. Just pointing that out for those of you who are reading this and might get confused about my referencing the SOO as tonight.