No Gosford Sharks, but fans needed - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

No Gosford Sharks, but fans needed

By David Beniuk 02/07/2010 05:50:22 PM Comments (0)

Cronulla's proposal to play five NRL games in Gosford may be history, but chairman Damian Irvine has warned big crowds are needed to ensure the Sharks continue playing out of Toyota Stadium.

As Ricky Stuart's side prepares for Saturday night's "home" clash with Canterbury at Bluetongue Stadium, Irvine has indicated the Sharks' bottom line needs to keep improving for it to call the Sutherland Shire its only home long-term.

Former chief executive Tony Zappia hatched a plan in 2009 for Cronulla to move five home games a year to the Central Coast venue but failed to get the support of the NRL.

"It's a rather lazy option to say we're taking five games (away) so it's certainly not in our thinking," Irvine told AAP on Friday.

"We're in a far better position now than when that decision was being made.

"I can understand why it was mooted but what we need is to keep playing at Toyota Stadium for our fans.

"We do need big numbers at the ground, no question. If we fail to draw large crowds there on a consistent basis then the financial viability of playing there in the mid-term future, three-to-five years away, might not be as strong."

The Sharks will consider taking a maximum of two games away from the Sutherland Shire from next year and have had approaches from various venues.

The main attraction is cash, with Bluetongue reportedly offering guarantees of around $100,000 to NRL sides taking games to the stadium.

Cronulla played North Queensland at Adelaide's Hindmarsh Stadium last year but opted not to go back in 2010.

"It might not be two (games), it might only be one," Irvine said.

"They're commercial decisions like all clubs make on taking them away so it would depend on the draw.

"It might not necessarily be Gosford, it might be interstate, it could be somewhere else in Sydney, it could be internationally.

"Preferably it would only be one game, it wouldn't be any more than two but we haven't got any plans to take two away, it just depends on what comes up."

Stuart's side have managed something of a mid-season revival, winning three of their last five and being far from disgraced against big guns St George Illawarra and Brisbane.

But they will be without NSW reps Trent Barrett, Paul Gallen and Kade Snowden against a Bulldogs outfit missing only hooker Michael Ennis.

Kevin Moore's men will also be hoping their season has turned the corner after ending a six-match losing streak with Monday night's 18-10 victory over Canberra.

Bulldogs winger Steve Turner has been ruled out after dislocating his elbow against the Raiders and will be sidelined for 3-6 weeks.

Giant teenager Jamal Idris, who was named in the second row, will shift back to the centres in a backline reshuffle.

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