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Why I fell in love with the Cronulla Sharks

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Roar Rookie
10th March, 2022
12

I didn’t understand what league was. I was part of a family of rugby union and mostly AFL fans but this other game that lived down the road always intrigued me.

I have my dad to thank for that. Still a diehard Carlton supporter, God bless him. He knew this little nine-year-old needed to experience what the other game was all about so he took me down to Suncorp Stadium to watch the Broncos play.

At this point, I have to say, I had already watched State of Origin although it was heavily influenced by Roy and HG.

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This ritual was soon to be banned by my mother. It always warped my little mind that there was a guy who played for the Brisbane Broncos (Queensland) yet he rolled out for NSW?

Mick De Vere was the name. And I will never, ever forget the surgical attempt of a job with staples on his forehead. League just seemed different. My interest was piqued.

But I digress.

So, here I am, a young lad with no knowledge of the game being taken to Suncorp by a guy who has no knowledge of the game either.

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Steeden football on the tryline

(Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images)

I remember settling into a seat as the Broncos ran out and my dad said “who do you want to go for?” so, being naïve, I said, “whoever wins”.

The Sharks managed to beat the Broncos that day. So that was my team. I didn’t understand that there were rules. I should have gone for the more successful Broncos that day.

But I didn’t know they were successful or even my home team, I just wanted to know who won. Sharks it was. They seemed pretty good. Little did I know, they were not pretty good at all.

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My small interest in the Sharks grew as I went through school and soon I met what was to be my best friend at the time. He was a Dragons fan.

Naturally, we bantered about the teams combining all-time 13s. I was adamant that Luke Covell be the winger.

I was so excited whenever the derbies came around but little did I know, the Sharks hadn’t won a single trophy, Amco Cup excluded.

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My mate gave me an endless amount of grief until I realised that the St George Illawarra Dragons hadn’t won anything (circa 2006) either. This was my ace.

I had dinner with his family and his dad, a notable sports presenter for Channel Nine and diehard Dragons fan, didn’t take too kindly to my logic.

The wife thought it was hilarious though. I was never invited back for dinner.

Despite realising that this was the most unsuccessful team of all time, I stuck with them. And when 2016 rolled around, I was over the moon.

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Paul Gallen Sharks

(Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

We finally won. My fleeting years as a starved supporter were worth the wait.

I’ve re-watched that final about ten times and it never fails to give me heart palpitations.

There’s a video of me somewhere flipping over my coffee table during that last minute that felt like it lasted an hour. I did a shoey too – that will never be shared.

I may have missed the heydays of Andrew Ettingshausen, David Peachey and Brett Kimmorley, but I was enamoured by Luke Covell, Ben Pomeroy, Danny Nutley, Phil Bailey, Lance Thompson and the bash brothers Paul Gallen and Greg Bird.

And now, 20 years later, here I am. A pathetically diehard Sharks fan. Born out of Brisbane, loving the Reds and Wallabies, but a Sharks fan till I die.

Up, up.

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