The Cronulla Sutherland Sharks have announced their intention to transform Netstrata Jubilee Stadium into their own “fortress” after stating the home of rival NRL rugby league club St. George Illawarra Dragons will be their temporary venue.
The Sharks’ PointsBet Stadium in the southern Sydney suburb of Woolooware is set to be off limits in 2020 and 2021 as work commences on the adjoining Leagues Club. The Sharks have been weighing up their stadium options for 2020 and have now announced a deal with Georges River Council, owner of Jubilee Stadium (pictured), to play 11 home games at the 20,500-capacity venue in nearby Carlton.
The Sharks will play their other home game next year at Sunshine Coast Stadium in Queensland, as part of efforts to increase the club’s supporter base. CEO Richard Munro said the Sharks had consulted with members, sponsors, hospitality partners and fans to determine where they wanted to watch the Sharks play over the next two seasons while the redevelopment is carried out.
“While there were many ideas put forward, Netstrata Jubilee Stadium emerged as the clear preference of our stakeholders,” Munro said. “Jubilee Stadium is only about 10kms up the road from PointsBet Stadium and it is accessible by both road and rail. So it is a convenient option for all Sharks supporters and commercial partners.
“We will play more games at Kogarah than any other sporting team next year and we intend making it our own fortress. The players are supportive of the move and now we are focussed on delivering a great season for our fans.”
While the Sharks have yet to decide on their plans for 2021, Munro said the club will put together a range of members packages to encourage fans to follow their team to their temporary home stadia. These will include incentives to ensure members can return to their current seats at PointsBet Stadium when the Sharks head back in 2022.
While Jubilee Stadium is not owned by the Dragons, it is located in the heart of that team’s territory. Munro said the Sharks’ marketing and commercial teams have plans in place to adapt the stadium to ensure it feels like home for the club
“It’s a dry stadium hire,” Munro said, according to NRL.com. “A lot of it will be technology but we’ll dress it up as well. The idea is fans will be able to get from Cronulla (train) station up to Jubilee as a group and we’ll be dressing up the stadium in black, white and blue.
“It won’t look anything like a Dragons stadium. The important thing is some members were worried we were giving money (hire costs) to the Dragons but it’s not. It goes to the council.”
The Sharks are planning to redevelop their Leagues Club at PointsBet Stadium into a world class entertainment venue that will be part of a commercial-retail precinct. Munro said some innovative ideas are part of the plans, including a proposed 1,800-square metre deck located off the new club.
He added: “As part of that there will be a pool – no kids, unfortunately – but it will overlook the ground and you can book it out exclusively. It will be something pretty special.”
Image: St. George Illawarra Dragons