It’s been one of Rugby League’s longest droughts, 50 long tolling years without a piece of silverware to lift in the Shire. On the fateful night of October 2nd 2016, the chants of Up Up Cronulla could be heard far and wide as residents in God’s country finally got what they’ve coveted for so many years. A Provan-Summons Trophy now resides in the Cronulla Leagues club with tickets to see the trophy starting at $15 a head. Children get in for free if they purchase a kids meal from the Club’s bistro.
The Cronulla sharks have had their fair share of controversy in recent years. The Cronulla sharks supplements saga erupted in 2014 with many high-profile players including part time boxer full time spiritual captain Paul Gallen getting pinged for doping. 2014 was a disaster for the Sharks with boom five-eighth Todd Carney doing his best Marilyn Manson impression only with added flavour. The Star was caught doing a ‘Bubbler’ or making a ‘Bubbler’ or drinking from the ‘Bubbler’, this writer isn’t too sure how to describe the obscene action however it was another nail in the coffin of Cronulla’s 2014 season. Fast forward two years and Iconic landmarks such as Northies, The Esplanade, Cronulla R.S.L and Fusions are buzzing at levels never before seen. Alcohol related violence is now solely concentrated to those not wearing Cronulla merchandise.
Speaking with supporters at the Bicentennial premiership celebrations, it was clear that this was one victory the Sharks fanatics would be savouring for years to come. Local juice bar owner Kev Stephenson told us what it meant for him and his family to finally get a hold of the big one. “Yeah mate, it’s been a ripper week. The Sharkies faithful have finally got one. We can dust off the old trophy cabinet, sing us an Up Up Cronulla and smash a few tinnies in the process. It’s been a hard slog, but we’re happier than a seagull with a chip. Yeah it’s been nuts”. The atmosphere in Sydney’s southern suburbs has been electrifying to say the least.
The Grand final victory itself has said to bring with it healing properties to the residents of the Shire. The common malady of bubble syndrome, denoting individuals who refuse to leave the confines of the mythological bubble covering the Sutherland shire has seemed to dissipate since the momentous win. Ricardo Carliatori, a 2nd generation Italian Australian street cleaner working in the Canterbury-Bankstown and Inner West regions has remarked on the evident increase of shire folk outside of the confines of their beloved God’s Country. “It’s been a bit weird. Not since my father come to this country with an empty suitcase and only one shoe have I seen this many Sharks fans out this way. They have their jerseys and their hats and those stupid flags you hang out of the windows of your car. I mean come on man, relax yourselves”.
With the numbers of Shire residents being seen outside the area slowly decreasing, it seems as though normality is returning to Sydney’s southern suburbs. With departing hooker Michael Ennis, aptly voted as League’s biggest grub, departing the club for retirement from the sporting spotlight, Cronulla’s young core of Bird, Holmes and Graham will be looking to steer the team to more success in 2017.
Written by Nikita Hatzi