John Morris aims to take Sharks squad to south coast as Cronulla launch bushfire appeal

One for all: More than 200 Cronulla Sharks players took part in a full-club training session last week. Picture: Cronulla Sharks
One for all: More than 200 Cronulla Sharks players took part in a full-club training session last week. Picture: Cronulla Sharks

Cronulla Sharks coach John Morris intends to take his NRL squad to the south coast to help where they can and raise spirits of those affected, with the club launching a bushfire appeal to support rural southern NSW communities, sporting clubs and facilities hit by the bushfire crisis.

The appeal started last week when more than 200 Sharks players took part in a full-club training session at Cronulla High School with players making cash donations.

The club launched an auction of unique memorabilia on Monday, with items including a special Sharks match-day experience, signed jerseys and boots and Andrew Fifita's 100-game Sharks ring.

Sharks legend Mat Rogers has donated the jersey he wore when he made his Cronulla debut in 1995, while Shaun Johnson has donated his New Zealand 2017 Rugby League World Cup jersey.

Young gun Bronson Xerri has donated the boots he wore when he made his NRL debut last season.

At the time of writing, bids on some items had already climbed past $500.

The club are also accepting donations through their Sharks Have Heart Foundation, with money collected by the Sharks as a result of the auction and through other fundraising activities to go directly to supporting affected communities, providing relief and assisting in repairing facilities and replacing lost goods.

The appeal is a personal one for a number of Cronulla's NRL squad including head coach Morris.

Morris has a sister living in the south coast town of Narooma. While she has not lost property, she has seen family and close friends suffer, making Morris determined to drive the club's efforts to help.

"[My sister's family] is okay but a lot of their friends were affected by the devastation and lost homes and to the point they lost loved ones," Morris said.

"We don't know where yet, we've got to work with the authorities to try and get in, but we want to try and find a little footy club that's lost everything and try and rebuild a footy club.

"That's the goal. We understand it might not be a footy club, it might be another sporting club or a school or something.

"In the coming weeks, and we are working with the authorities to come up with an appropriate time, I'll be taking the full Sharks NRL squad to the south coast to assist with the clean-up and to do what we can to help, while trying to lift the spirits of the locals looking to rebuild their homes and their lives."

People can visit the auction site here.

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