Five ways to make Cronulla cool again
The Sharks looking dejected during the round 25 NRL match between the North Queensland Cowboys and the Cronulla Sharks. AAP Image/Action Photographics, Colin Whelan
While the doomsdayers out there like to moan about Cronulla-Sutherland’s crowds, fast food queues or collapsing massage tables, the Sharks are facing a much larger threat.
The threat of being the most boring footy club in Australia.
It wasn’t always like this.
Back in the mid 1990s, a Saturday night at Shark Park was second only to an evening spent playing Super Mario Kart with Pamela Anderson.
ET and co. would produce the goods on the ground, while big name celebs like Elle Macpherson added glamour in the stands.
The Sharks have tried to reignite some of this 90s excitement with Todd Carney inking a deal last week (probably on his butt somewhere), an uninspired exercise considering the bad boy, half ploy has been done to death already, with Brett Seymour and Tim Smith.
Without the history of a Souths or the success of a Brisbane, the Sharks are going to struggle to pull a headline, however if the Cronulla riots showed us anything it’s that it’s possible to pull a decent crowd in the ‘Nulla for just about anything if you promote it right.
So here are my five suggestions to put the spotlight back on the shire.
5. Increase the Mermaids’ job description
The Mermaids are the Sharks’ cheerleaders and are as every part loved as the football team is ridiculed.
Currently on game night at Endeavour Field, they do a bit of a pre-match wiggle, sit on the sidelines texting, dance to ‘Hey Mickey’ at half-time, wonder why it always rains in Cronulla and then walk the boys off the ground at full-time.
Surely they could do a bit more? Why not let them do the trainers’ job, it would sure beat the sight of Peter Sharp running around in his meathangers.
The girls could cartwheel out on the ground, give Gall a drink, remind him not to offload the ball to Ben Pomeroy and then somersault off the ground to applause.
This would also help stop the problem of traditional trainers making a nuisance of themselves and might even assist the Sharks attack by momentarily distracting the defence.
4. Put a nightclub in the Southern Stand
The only thing ‘God’s Country’ folk love more than body-boarding the island or running up sandhills is sharing a drink in a dimly lit, doof-doof.
Common sense dictates then, that the Sharks cater to their market by bringing such an establishment to Caltex Park on game night.
You think high-rise apartments are money-spinners? Try $15 cover charge and then $9.50 for a watery bourbon and coke, that’s where the real coin is at!
They can put the club under the new Southern Stand and call it ‘Southies’. Reserve graders would make a bit of coin as bouncers at the door keeping an eye out for Dragon fans and MC Hammerhead could spin the decks inside.
3. Sign Terrell Owens
Terrell Owens (T.O) is a future NFL Hall of Fame wide receiver, who is currently without a club due to football politics. Politics and the fact that he has an ego the size of Nat Myles’ forehead.
T.O would add some sizzle to Cronulla’s backline and at the very least, bring a feel good ‘Manfred Moore’ factor to Toyota Park.
Sure, he probably has a limited grasp of the game, but that’s never stopped Shane Flanagan giving Ben Pomeroy a run, has it?
Put him up in an apartment at Cronulla Point with a solid Wi-Fi connection and pretty soon the fans will be asking “Blake who?”
2. Actual Sharks
Look, they don’t have to have frickin’ laser beams on their heads or anything, but what’s the point in having a great mascot if all you’ve got to show for it is some misfit in a foam suit?
Surely an actual shark or two at Ronson Park would pull a few fans.
I’m thinking, chuck a Noah’s Ark in a tank on the family hill and the kids could pat it or feed it hotdogs if the game got boring, while the simple act of retrieving the ball would suddenly become an entertaining life or death struggle.
Would be educational too.
1. Win the competition
Hey, it worked for Wests Tigers!
Chris Chard is a sports humour writer commenting on the often absurd nature of professional sport. A rugby league fan boy with a good blend of youth and experience taking things one week at a time, Chris has written for The Roar, Rugby League Player Magazine, US Sports Downunder, the QRL and People. Tweet him @Vic_Arious
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