Coffs Chamber of Commerce celebrate Sharks Captain’s Run

Gurmesh Singh, Emma Tonegato, Jess Macartney, Garth Shipperlee, Rebecca Hughes, Ray Smith, Sharon McDougall, Andrew Ettingshausen, Aiden Tolman and Dan Heather.

THE Cronulla Sharks Captain’s Run Morning Tea was held on Friday 19 May at C.ex International Stadium in the lead up to the Sydney side’s Saturday matchup with the Newcastle Knights.

Coffs Harbour Chamber of Commerce members and their guests met key Sharks managers, rubbed shoulders with Cronulla Sharks Hall of Fame legend Andrew Ettingshausen and watched a training session preparing players for the following day’s NRL action.

Nestlers Home Improvements Pty LtdAdvertise with News of The Area today.
It’s worth it for your business.
Message us.
Phone us – (02) 4981 8882.
Email us –

Ray Smith, President of the Coffs Harbour Chamber of Commerce, welcomed guests and handed over to Rebecca Hughes, GM Partnerships, Cronulla Sharks, who shared the team’s excitement and delight about being in Coffs Harbour for the week and participating in numerous, well-supported community events.

Rebecca compared Coffs Harbour to the team’s beachside home in Sutherland Shire, describing both areas as having “beautiful beaches” and “warm and friendly” people.

The Sharks offered big thanks to City of Coffs Harbour (CoCH), particularly noting collaborations with CoCH’s Sharon McDougall, Section Leader – Stadium and Major Events and Dan Heather, Group Leader City Prosperity.

“Sharon and Dan have gone way beyond what we would expect.”

“We have encouraged the players to make the most of the local hospitality,” Rebecca told News Of The Area.

“They stayed at Opal Cove resort, they played golf at Bonville Golf Course and had meals at C.ex in the city as well as local coffee shops and cafes.”

Jess Macartney, Head of Government and Community at the Cronulla Sharks, spoke about the community ethics of her team, comparing it to the similar welcoming vibes felt in Coffs Harbour, across community, and businesses.

“It’s like a bond”, she said.

Jess has been part of the team taking the club’s programs out to Coffs Harbour all week.

These activities included an anti-racism program educating young people and a mental health program.

“We also did a live interview on 104.1 CHYFM Coffs’ youth radio.”

There were two NRL clinics, for people with disability and grass roots players.

“Everyone is very excited about tonight’s NRL wheelchair exhibition match at Wiigulga Sports Hall,” said Jess.

The Sharks have also connected with the Coffs community through their ‘Sharks Have Hearts’ program.

“We partnered with Coffs’ local youth radio 104.1 CHYFM as our Giving Partner in this program, which has given us opportunities to meet people.”

Emma Tonegato, the Gold medal winning Olympian, Jillaroo, 2021 Dally M Medalist and member of the NRLW inaugural Sharks team, spoke about it being a very exciting time for young girls in rugby league, showing them there is a pathway to an NRL career with women’s teams.

Emma spoke about her role, saying she had signed with the Sharks in the disability space, as an occupational therapist.

The final speaker for the Captain’s Run Morning Tea was Aiden Tolman, the Kempsey-born former Cronulla Sharks player, who is now working with the NRL on the Coffs Coast.

Looking around the C.ex Stadium filled with Cronulla Sharks jerseys, Aiden said, “It’s great to have NRL here like this today.

“What you’ll see today is the players doing a warm-up, a quick lap around the oval, some stretches, some attack and defence and tackling, and a run through of what they’re going to do tomorrow.

“The main thing is to get their mentality in the right spot for tomorrow’s game,” said Aiden.

At the close of the presentations Rebecca Hughes, on behalf of the Cronulla Sharks, gifted a signed 2023 jersey to the Coffs Harbour Chamber of Commerce, which was happily accepted by President Ray Smith.

Then it was time to socialise and mingle and watch the players on the field.

Jack Dale, 35, from Alt Control Electrical in Coffs Harbour was over the moon, seizing the opportunity to ask his NRL hero Andrew Ettingshausen, also known as ‘ET’, to sign the treasured jersey he’s had since he was four-years-old.
“I’ve been a fan for 31 years,” Jack told NOTA.

Another fan enjoying an opportunity he had been awarded was Duke Rowthorne, who volunteers on 104.1 CHYFM and is a Year 12 Bishop Druitt College student.

Through the youth radio station Duke was selected to take up a media-related work experience placement which meant he worked as the Media Assistant to Cronulla Sharks Media Manager Rob Willis for the Captain’s Run Morning Tea and Game Day.

“It’s literally a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Duke told NOTA.

“I’m blessed to have this opportunity; it’s hard to come by such experiences, so I’m going to take it with both hands for the two occasions I’m shadowing Rob,” he said.


Leave a Reply