If you thought that premiership fever was starting to die down in the shire more than a fortnight after the Cronulla Sharks’ won their historic first grand final – think again.
Sharks captain Paul Gallen visited Gymea Bay, Burraneer Bay, Sylvania Heights, Woolooware and Oyster Bay public schools to show off the premiership trophy in front of hundreds of adoring fans on Tuesday.
The five schools were involved in the Sutherland Shire Primary Schools rugby league competition this year, with the visit a thank you for their participation in the program.
Cronulla Caringbah’s NSW and Australia Jillaroos captain Ruan Sims was also there to show off the interstate challenge trophy, which NSW won from Queensland for the first time in their history this season.
Gallen said the celebrations – and support from the people of the shire – had exceeded his expectations.
“To be honest with you for all the players and even myself it has sort of ended. The boys have gone off to do their own thing and I’m sort of moving on as well but the people and the kids they just love it. It’s never-ending for them at the moment. So it’s a good feeling,” he said.
“I didn’t expect it to be this big post game. Certainly during the game and for that week post the grand final I expected it to be big which it was. But two and a half weeks later there’s people still celebrating. It’s the older generation that’s celebrating more than the young ones. It doesn’t seem to be stopping at the moment.
“It is a bit [overwhelming]. You’re trying to get back to a normal life, you try to go down to get something to eat or a coffee and people are having photos and getting you to sign things. It is a bit overwhelming now but for that first week it was awesome. It exceeded my expectations and still now. It’s just great for the whole shire, they’ve waited 50 years for it and we’re happy to deliver it.”