Pictured: The leader of the latest Shark cull
Many years ago, my Year 11 & 12 maths teacher Mr Morrison came from this mystical land called Cronulla, and to make us do our work he would tell the class about the culture of ‘The ‘Nulla’, such as the Cronulla Code, the Cronulla Kiss (Which is the Liverpool kiss, from Cronulla), the time he taught Ian Thorpe, and stories about a man called ‘The Skull’- Who as I discovered is the infamous Neo-Nazi Dragons fan Ross May, who makes no secret of his distaste for Rupert Murdoch.
A face like this would be enough to frighten any resident of the Shire.
But if the current state of the Cronulla Sharks is anything to go by, ‘The Moz’ probably wasn’t as crazy as I thought.
While the WA government are now hard at work finding a way to drop SMART drum lines near Gracetown, Todd Greenberg and his band of merry men at NRL HQ borrowed some of Colin Barnett’s old drum lines and went straight for the Sharks lurking in Cronulla, with a good deal of success.
First, they culled premiership coach Shane Flanagan for breaching his 2014 suspension, deregistered him from the game and fined the Sharks $800,000, then the whole team were banned from the Cronulla Sailing Club (Which according to 35 reviews on Google is a fine establishment), and despite signing Kiwi star Shaun Johnson, the club self-reported that their salary cap was rooted.
So the League Integrity Unit decided to help them out- by casting the lines into their hip pocket and giving them a reduced cap for the next 2 years, which means they will probably need to off-load James Segeyaro back to the coffee shop he worked at last year.
So it turns out that Sharks can’t manage finances, which should make sense, since they are predatory fish that have no need for money.
Of course I haven’t mentioned the departure of the very skilled species of Shark known as Valentine Holmes, who swam all the way to America to test his mettle in the NFL.
In the last decade, the Shark brand has taken blow after blow, no thanks to Greg Norman’s five minute marriage to Chris Evert.
Hang on a minute, wrong Shark.
There was the stuff in 2009 about their group bonding on a 2002 trip to New Zealand, losing millions on poor crowds at Shark Park, paying around $4 million in fines and legal fees during the ASADA Investigations of 2013-14 (Which actually worked out well for them, unlike Essendon), The Fifita brothers abusing junior referees, Todd Carney bubbling into his mouth instead of the urinal he was in front of, and various cases of recreational drug use, which for some reason is completely normal in Australian sport.
But despite all this they’ve been very good on field- Finally ending their Premiership duck in 2016 (Which is somehow the only recent year they weren’t over the Salary Cap according to the NRL), and making the finals 6 of the past 7 seasons.
But it seems that no matter where the Sharks swim to, be it the beaches of the Shire or a hypothetical move to the coastline of WA (Sharks have a fantastic reputation here right now), the authorities will be there, armed and ready to finish them off.
TL:DR- How on earth are NRL clubs continually going over the salary cap?