Sharks, the privilege was all mine
JUST OVER 40 YEARS AGO the Cronulla Sharks appointed me a “privileged member”. They issued me with a “gold” lapel badge with the number 276 on the back. Privileges were few – I actually can’t remember getting any, not even a beer or a newsletter, let alone a seat at an event lunch or dinner. I’d been a staunch supporter of not necessarily the club but most definitely the players. Yes, I probably waxed a little too lyrical at times in RLW.
Admittedly, Cronulla didn’t have too much to celebrate. The bridesmaid in 1973 to Manly and again catching the bouquet when beaten by the Sea Eagles in the 1978 grand final replay. My privileges came from gushing over the deeds of players the calibre of Steve Rogers, Andrew Ettingshausen, Gavin Miller, Ken Maddison and “The White Rabbit”, Tommy Bishop. And there was Cliffy. Mean and nasty Cliff Watson. Just as hard for the Sharks as he was for Great Britain. I still have vivid memories of the 1970 Lang Park Test when Watson rearranged the facial features of Australia’s Jimmy Morgan. His mother could’ve been excused for not recognising him. Then, another privilege. This one more recent – last Sunday, to be precise. And it more than compensates for all those that got lost in the post. I saw one of the most gutsy grand final performances in memory.
Staring defeat right between the eyes with only 10 minutes left only to see their “bad boy” Andrew Fifita become every Sharks fan’s hero. It was a try for the ages carved out of brute strength and determination.
Luke Lewis a worthy man of the match, Fifita close on his heels and James Maloney only a tackle away in third place for the coveted Clive Churchill Medal.
If only Steve Rogers had been alive to see the greatest day in his club’s history.
A player and friend of his standing deserved to be at ANZ last Sunday, basking in the glory he did so much to establish.