- Lloyd Rothwell
PointsBet Stadium – Cronulla Sharks
Photos by Lloyd Rothwell, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 0.00
2 Captain Cook Drive
Woolooware, NSW 2230 Australia
Year Opened: 1960
Southern Cross Group Stadium (formerly known as Remondis Stadium) is located in the Sutherland Shire of Sydney, serving as home to the Cronulla Sharks of the National Rugby League (NRL). The stadium was built in 1960 and, in somewhat of an anomaly in Australian sport, is actually owned by the Sharks. Several renovations have lifted the capacity to the current mark of 22,000. The original name of the venue is Endeavour Field, but it is commonly called “Shark Park” by the Cronulla faithful.
The Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks joined the then NSW Rugby League in 1967, having previously played in the Sydney inter-district competition. The Sharks are based in the Sutherland Shire, representing the coastal areas south of Botany Bay and the Georges River. While enjoying several periods of success throughout their history, the Sharks have yet to win a first grade premiership, losing two grand finals in the 1970s to Manly (plus a GF replay in 1978 after the original match was drawn 11-11), and the 1997 Super League grand final to Brisbane.
Financial instability has dogged the club over the years, although it’s hoped a large development project on land owned by the Sharks will secure their long term financial future.
Note: The stadium name is now named PointsBet Park.
Food & Beverage 3
Southern Cross Group Stadium embodies exactly what you expect from a trip to a suburban footy stadium; long lines, average mass produced food, and prices that make you wonder why you didn’t get an extra $50 out at the ATM.
Your food offerings can broadly be separated into all the basic stadium food groups; meat pies, hot chips, hot dogs, burgers, fish and chips, and chicken. Add to that nachos and some basic wraps, and that’s pretty much it. A decent feed is likely to set you back a minimum of around $12 per person.
Limit your expectations at the bar to another long wait in line, despite the “VB Only” lines. Soft drinks are Pepsi-Schweppes and beer is CUB.
Probably best not to be too adventurous in the food department while at Southern Cross Group and stick with the tried and true pie, chips and a beer.
The Sharkies offer a traditional game day experience with the focus on the footy. Games against local rivals St George Illawarra draw good crowds, while most Sydney opponents will also attract reasonable numbers.
There are two entrances to Shark Park; both on the southern side of the stadium. You enter through a large inflatable shark’s head, with the southwestern entrance also featuring the Sharks honour walk. The stadium has grandstands on three sides, with the northern end dominated by a hill area. The main stand is on the western side and is named after arguably the Sharks greatest ever player, Andrew Ettingshausen (ET Stand). The Peter Burns Stand is on the eastern side and is built onto the adjoining Sharkies Leagues Club. During an afternoon game this stand looks directly into the setting sun. The southern stand is the most recent addition to Southern Cross Group Stadium and was named after the first captain of the club, Monty Porter. There are video screens at either end.
The ground announcer is passionately one-sided towards the home team, and adds to the atmosphere, despite his painfully constant referrals to the Sharks captain, Paul Gallen as, “G-Train.” The public address system is too loud, particularly the music leading up to the start of the game. Expect the standard cheerleaders, known as the Mermaids, and junior footy played at halftime.
The ET Stand is the premiere place to sit and as a result tickets for this area tend to sell faster than any other area (and are priced accordingly). The hill is designated as family friendly and alcohol free, but if it’s a solid crowd it can be quite uncomfortable. There’s concourse seating around the ground which is a better priced option if you don’t mind sitting closer to ground level. Be aware that only a small amount of seats have good coverage from rain.
The immediate neighbourhood is largely playing fields and residences, save for the leagues club next door. If you’re after anything more than that then you’ll have to head down the road to Cronulla itself.
The Leagues Club has a bistro, cafe, and Chinese restaurant as well as bars and entertainment. If you’re down in Cronulla, then the Nuns Pool Cafe (103 Ewos Pde) has a well-deserved good reputation. Northies Cronulla is also a well-known local watering hole (Cnr Kingsway & Elouera).
The Cronulla area is dominated by its waterways. Local surf beaches are Cronulla, North Cronulla, Elouera, and Wanda. The nearest major shopping centre is Westfield Miranda, just to the west of Woolooware. The metropolitan area of Sydney and CBD are within a 30 minute drive, while Sydney’s Kingsford-Smith airport is 18km to the north.
There’re several hotels in Cronulla including a Rydges and a Quest.
The Sharks are well supported by their local community. However, the area the team represents is relatively small, and borders too closely with St George Illawarra. Sadly, Cronulla is often mentioned as a candidate for relocation, should it ever occur.
Average attendance is around 12,000 which is at the lower end of NRL teams. Choose the game you attend carefully to make the most of your experience at Remondis. Look for matches against other Sydney teams to boost crowds and the resulting atmosphere.
If a decent crowd does turn up, the atmosphere compares well with other venues. Sharks fans enjoy their footy and strongly cheer for their team.
Southern Cross Group Stadium is not well located in terms of transportation, with no close parking or public transport.
The nearest train station at Woolooware is around a 15 minute walk from the stadium. Buses may be an option depending where you are travelling from.
There are no parking lots available. While not having to pay for parking is always a pleasure, the resulting traffic and battle to find a parking spot on packed suburban streets is not. A walk of a kilometre or more is easily possible if you choose to drive. Interestingly, there are numerous security guards and police in the surrounding streets to help manage pedestrian safety and congestion.
Entry is relatively smooth with electronic ticket scanners and a minimal security check for the standard bag check. Best to buy your ticket online before you turn up.
A half decent crowd and the concourses will be quite busy as fans spill into walkways. Crowds for bathrooms are reasonable, even at half time. Ushers are minimal, overworked, and not particularly effective.
Return on Investment 3
Not having to pay for parking is a huge bonus when comparing cost to other major venues, but let’s face it, the long walk and stress in finding a parking spot all but cancels that positive out. Cost of entry and food is about average.
Cheapest Adult Ticket: $25.49 Parking: $0 Pie: $6 Drink: $3.50 TOTAL: $34.99
There are discounts for juniors and families.
There are two inflatable attractions for older children on the hill, and it’s also worth mentioning the honour walk at the south western entrance.
The best thing about Southern Cross Group Stadium is that it completely represents the football team that plays there. It’s an older stadium with minimal amenities, but is worth a trip to the Shire all the same.