Missing the finals for the first time in 10 years proved the catalyst for change at the club, with former WARL operations manager Dale Christy taking over from long-time chairman Rod Fielding.
The Sharks have also appointed Steve Fielding ” who coached the coastal club to its only premiership in 1993 ” as coach, with a strong focus on promoting the club’s young talent set to be the foundation for the club’s push for finals football.
‘I’m not worried about what happened last year; this year is about rebuilding and using the young local talent that is coming through,’ Fielding said.
‘There is a good mix of experience and youth here. We have some really talented under-18s players coming through and doing well, so there’s no reason we can’t get back into the top four.’
Off the field, Christy said he wanted the club to reconnect with the community and rebuild a solid membership base, hoping to draw on the region’s large expat community.
‘We want to bring back the life members and get back some of the fans who left, but also get in the people who don’t know there is a strong rugby league culture in this area,’ he said.
‘There are a lot of expats from New Zealand, England, South Africa and the eastern states who live here and love rugby league but don’t know there is a club; we want to get them here.’
The Sharks, who went down in their first pre-season trial 44-22 to Fremantle last weekend, take on Willagee Bears tomorrow at Franklin Offshore Sports Complex (Lark Hill) in their final hit-out before the season proper commences on March 22.