Members unanimously approve merger of Sharks Leagues and Kareela Golf clubs

Once ratified, the new club will be known as Sharkies at Kareela. Picture: John Veage
Once ratified, the new club will be known as Sharkies at Kareela. Picture: John Veage


Cronulla Sharks chairman Dino Mezzatesta predicts the leagues club will become "a powerhouse" in Sutherland Shire following the approval by members of a merger with Kareela Golf Club.

Sharks members voted unanimously for the proposal on Thursday night, and there was a similar result at earlier meetings by members of Kareela Golf Club and Sporties.

Sharks chairman Dino Mezzatesta said he was thrilled Sharks members shared the vision of the board of directors and management.

"We certainly appreciate the support of our members in unanimously voting for what will be a new chapter in the Sharks history and a new home for our members to enjoy," he said.

"As I said in a recent note to members, this new addition to the Sharks stable will set the footprint for future growth and expansion while giving our members and our community many more benefits.

"The amalgamation with Kareela also secures another revenue generating asset to further strengthen our financial position."

The Sharks plan is to continue with Kareela Golf Club as a second site for members and their guests, both while construction is continuing at the club's traditional home at Woolooware and also into the future once the doors of the new Sharks Leagues Club open for business.

"We should be very excited as for the first time in the history of our club we are expanding the brand to another area of the Shire, something we want to continue to do," Mr Mezzatesta said.

"With our 27,000 strong membership base at Sharks, now boosted by the 7000 Kareela members, the new combined Sharks entity will become a powerhouse in the Sutherland Shire."

The amalgamation with Kareela Golf Club needs to be ratified by the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA) before becoming official.

Under the arrangement the Sharks will take over the running and day to day operations of the Kareela Golf Club premises.

Once ratified the new club will be known as Sharkies at Kareela.

Sharks Leagues Club general manager Elie Bassil said staff were looking forward to enhancing the experience for both Sharks and Kareela Golf Club members and guests alike.

"I hope our members come down and try the restaurant and bistro, which offers outstanding dining options, the kids club is already popular amongst golf club patrons and should be utilised by Sharks members," she said.

"If they haven't been here previously Sharks members might be surprised by the amenities here, which are first class."

Earlier story: January 10, 2000

A vote on the proposed amalgamation of Cronulla Sharks Leagues Club with Sporties Kareela will not be affected by the sudden departure of Sharks chief executive Richard Munro.

Officials from both clubs confirmed meetings of members would go ahead later this month.

Sporties members will vote on January 22 and Sharks members the following night.

Moorebank Sports Club (Sporties) amalgamated with Kareela Golf and Social Club in 2017.

Under the proposal to be voted on this month, the Kareela club will de-amalgamate with Sporties and then amalgamate with Sharks.

Sporties will have no further involvement at Kareela.

The Kareela club will become the home of the Sharks during the two-year redevelopment of the Woolooware Bay site and into the future.

The plan is for Sharks to have two clubs in the shire once the Woolooware Bay premises reopen.

Sharks chief executive Richard Munro advised leagues club members when the vote would be held just two days before it was announced he had parted ways with the club.

Mr Munro said the amalgamation could only go ahead if members supported it.

"We are delighted we have negotiated an agreement to amalgamate with Sporties @ Kareela Golf Club, which will ensure, you, our members, have a home base for the next 18 months," Mr Munro wrote.

"And, once the new leagues club opens, we will continue to operate the Kareela club, giving members a choice of venues and activities where they can support the Sharks.

"In other words, it's an exciting development which, we believe, will have long-term financial and entertainment benefits for the club."

Chairman of Sporties Group, Alby Taylor, said in a statement to members the move would allow it to pursue "new opportunities".

Mr Taylor said, since amalgamating with the Kareela club, "we have made considerable gains at the venue, turning Kareela around from a position of negative cash flow into a viable, cash positive business".

"Since amalgamating with Kareela in 2017, new opportunities have crystallised for the Sporties Group, including an ability to commence building at our Gregory Hills site and a possibility to purchase land adjoining our Hammondville home," he wrote.

"Naturally, Sporties is unable to pursue every opportunity and we must plan strategically.

"Given these issues and the opportunity presented by Sharks, Sporties lodged an Expression of Interest to amalgamate the Kareela venue with Cronulla Sharks, freeing up resources to pursue other projects."

Mr Taylor said the benefits of an amalgamation of the Kareela and Sharks clubs included:

  • "Raising Kareela's profile once it becomes the "home" of Sharks for 2020 and 2021;
  • "More than 27,000 Sharks members will immediately call Kareela home;
  • "Increasing patronage with Sharks holding their home game celebrations at Kareela, with Sharks playing their home games in 2020-21 at Jubilee Stadium less than 10km away.
  • "Growth in golf membership as Sharks raise the awareness of golf in the local area; and
  • "A greater management presence with the relocation of the Sharks' Management team.

"We believe an amalgamation with a partner like Sharks will herald in a new era for the members of Kareela, and this is a decision in their best interest, both long and short term."