Douglas supports Sharks resurgence
The pain of watching his boyhood team lose their star player and then their coach in the space of 48 hours still hurts but former Sharks prop Luke Douglas believes there is enough strength in Cronulla to emerge from their current crises.
Despite the fact that the Sharks are preparing to take on the defending premier Roosters with under-20s coach James Shepherd at the helm assisted by current squad member John Morris, the club was able to announce the signing of a new major sponsor on Friday morning, LabourHealth.
Described as a company specialising in on-site workplace injury prevention and drug and alcohol testing, LabourHealth will implement new drug and alcohol policies as part of their sponsorship of the Sharks, a move that came a week too late for sacked star Todd Carney.
The search for an interim coach following the resignation of former assistant coach Peter Sharp remains ongoing, all while the spectre of the ASADA investigation continues overhead.
It would be enough to bring many clubs to their knees but Douglas, who played 146 games straight between 2006 and 2011 for Cronulla before joining the Titans, is steadfast in his belief that the Shire club and its fans have the necessary strength to lift the organisation back to its feet.
"I grew up supporting the Sharks, there was no Titans back in the day, and I've got some great mates still there and some great friends who are supporters. A lot of my family support the Sharks and are season ticket holders," Douglas said as the Titans face their own challenge of trying to avoid a club-record seventh straight defeat against South Sydney on Monday night.
"It does hurt [to see what Cronulla are going through] but they've got a group there and they're strong enough and the fan base is strong so I'm sure they'll pull through. A few new sponsors got announced last night so that's great to see and hopefully they're on the up."
While even Sharks captain Wade Graham told Fox Sports that even he was unsure why a coach would step in to assist with 10 games remaining, CEO of LabourHealth, Regan Brown, said he was happy to have his company emblazoned across the front of their jerseys.
“First and foremost it is an opportunity for us to increase brand awareness and to increase our presence in the marketplace,” Brown said. “On top of that LabourHealth joining with the Sharks is a good news story coming on the end of what has been a difficult week for the club."
With head coach Shane Flanagan still serving his suspension as a result of the 2011 supplements program at the club, Sharks CEO Steven Noyce has had little to celebrate in 2014 but was delighted to welcome LabourHealth as a corporate partner.
“We are certainly appreciative of the support of LabourHealth and we look forward to working with them for what will be an exciting journey,” Noyce said.
“The sponsorship shows faith in the Sharks brand and for us is an endorsement in the direction the club is heading into the future.”