The Cronulla Sharks made a very tough decision when they decided to move half of their home games to Gosford.
The Cronulla Sharks, more than any other team in the NRL, are a club thats very much grounded in its local area. They call its “The Shire”, and for many years the area turned up in big numbers to support their hero’s, despite the fact the team could never break their Premiership duck.
Problem is, these days, that support just isn’t enough to pay the bills, and with the Sharks Leagues club in a dire financial position. the Sharks had to act or they could very well have gone belly up at the end of the year.
The Sharks went to the NRL and asked if they would get any money for playing half their games in Gosford by the NRL stood strong. No team will get an $8,000,000 dollar relocation grant unless they pack and up move everything to a new area.
That begs the question, if moving their their games is going to help the Sharks just survive in the short term, what is the clubs long term solution?
There is talk of a major development on land owned by the Sharks, but in this financial climate, who is going to sink a hundred million dollars into a development with a broke football team?
I think this is the beginning of the end for the Sharks life in Cronulla, but I have to say, I’m glad they are looking at relocation rather than just dying where they are now. The Sharks are a great club and their loss would be terrible.
Is a full relocation to Gosford the solution? I personally don’t think so.
The area has less of a corporate base than the Cronulla area does, its stuck between Newcastle and Manly, both clubs who are also struggling financially and the area has shown over many years that it just doesn’t turn up in big numbers to watch any sport.
I personally think Brisbane, playing out of Suncorp Stadium, would be a fantastic move for the Sharks.
Another thing to question is, what does a possible re-location of the Sharks do to the stupid, short sighted and idiotic group that wants the NRL to put a 15th team in Gosford and call them the Central Coast Bears, playing some of their games at North Sydney Oval, which has a Cricket Pitch running through the middle of it!
The words “up shit creek” come to mind.
Of course those involved with the ridiculous North Sydney/Central Coast Bears bid have already started whinging about this move by Cronulla, calling it a “Cash grab” and saying the Sharks are “using the Central Coast”. Funny that because it was the Bears that got Gosford to build a stadium before they went broke, and the big plan is to not play all their games in Gosford anyway.
Pot, kettle and all that…
At the end of the day, I’m glad the Sharks management has the balls to make such a tough decision, and I get the feeling Sharks fans, while upset that the club is in this situation, realize that its either this or lose their clubs all together.
I’ve always said that if it was between my clubs relocating or dying completely, I’d want them to relocate straight away.
It’s rotten that the Sharks have had to make this decision, but at least the club is doing all it can to make sure they have a place in the NRL.
A well known Rugby League writer, League Freak has established a reputation among supporters of the game for his fearless commentary and unmatched insight. With a reach that spans both sides of the globe, League Freak has produced an independent network that allows him to distribute content to his many thousands of followers. He is the owner and main author of LeagueFreak.com
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