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'I'd love to explore the Pacific' - Cronulla eager to take NRL clashes to Tonga, Fiji

The Cronulla Sharks could be willing to take their home NRL clashes to the Pacific Islands, most likely Tonga and Fiji, after revealing to have made a loss on every game at Shark Park in 2018.

As rumours swirl of the NRL shifting a team out of Sydney, the Sharks appear to be the most precariously placed of the current sides, with club chairman Dino Mezzatesta saying the organisation is desperate to bring new fans through the gates.

Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald, Mezzatesta hinted that the Sharks could follow suit in taking home matches out of Sydney.

"We just need to find an area where we can grow our brand and support the Sharks," he said.

"I'd love to explore the Pacific Islands. That would have to be heavily subsidised but we'd look at that.

"If the Fijian or Tongan rugby league community [were keen], it would be unreal. We would need support from both countries for ... that to happen."

Mezzatesta also revealed how dire the numbers are for the Sharks' home matches, with Cronulla's attendances among the lowest in the NRL.

"The break-even number for us is about 16,500 [at Shark Park].

"It's another way of saying that we need to get people here, that's the push."

Currently, the Sharks are the only Syndey-based side not to play home matches outside of their home city, with the Panthers taking matches to Bathurst, the Dragons to Mudgee, the Roosters to Gosford, Manly to Christchurch, the Rabbitohs to the Sunshine Coast and the Eels to Darwin.

Isaiah Papali'i.
NRL Premiership rugby league. Vodafone Warriors v Cronulla Sharks. Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland, New Zealand. Friday 29 June 2018. © Copyright photo: Andrew Cornaga / www.Photosport.nz
Warriors forward Isaiah Papali'i in action against the Cronulla Sharks during an NRL match at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland. Source: Photosport


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