Southern Expansion, a group hoping to launch new teams in Australia’s A-League and W-League top-tier football competitions, has linked up with National Rugby League club Cronulla Shark to boost its efforts.

The two parties have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will allow Southern Expansion to play a number of its home matches at the Sharks’ Southern Cross Group Stadium.

Should Southern Expansion be successful in its bid to add new teams to both of the competitions, the clubs would be based in the southern New South Wales region of Australia.

“Our MoU means Southern will share a number of our home games at Southern Cross Group Stadium, giving our local fans regular, top-flight A-League and W-League games in the Shire,” Southern chairman Morris Iemma said.

“We are focused on grassroots engagement with our local community and this MoU means we can work with the Sharks in order to best-utilise the Stadium and provide our local fans and visitors, with a complete match-day experience when they come to watch Southern.”

Cronulla Sharks chairman Dino Mezzatesta also pledged his full support to the ongoing effort: “The potential to bring additional content to Southern Cross Group Stadium and to help deliver an expansion FFA (Football Federation Australia) team through supporting your bid is exciting and aligns with our community strategy and inclusive vision of our club.”

Chris Gardiner, chief executive of Southern, also said that the new MoU means Southern has now delivered on a commitment to servicing all three of its local football associations: playing out of Southern Cross Group Stadium (Sutherland): Jubilee Oval (St George) and WIN Stadium (South Coast).

Gardiner added: ““It means that everyone in the Southern Region will now get the chance to see our Southern men and women play, close to where they actually live, and in community-based stadia that will provide the great fan experiences larger stadia can’t match.

“We think this support from the Cronulla Sharks strengthens our bid significantly, coming as it does on the eve of the likely announcement of an expansion EOI process.”

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