For most Cronulla Sharks fans, supporting their team has been a labour of love – and for 25-year-old Alex Logan, no amount of distance was going to keep him from witnessing perhaps the club’s finest moment.
Now living overseas, Alex flew home for the grand final – where he’ll be cheering for his beloved Sharkies alongside his dad.
“It started off with my father. He was a Woolooware High boy. He used to go down to Endeavour Oval all the time to see Tommy Bishop, Cliff Watson, Steve Rogers … those types of lads. And when I was young one day he surprised me and took me to a match – I think it was ’99. Cronulla beat the Wests Magpies and ever since then it’s totally engrossed me all the way through.
“I work in sports media myself, so sport is everything to me. I’ve been a lifelong fan since then.”
Often, expensive gambles in sports fandom don’t pay off. Whether it’s pre-emptively getting a ‘Super Bowl Champions’ tattoo or planning flying halfway across the world for a game your team hasn’t qualified for yet, often fans can end up with egg on their face. Luckily for Alex, it didn’t for him.
“When we were in the middle of our 15 in a row streak, I sort of had a little bit of a sense to think ‘this may be happening’. So about a month out, I started to plan it around work and it got to the stage where I needed to make a decision – so just before the Cowboys match I’d tentatively purchased tickets and flights. I was hanging on that, knowing that we’d do it and we did … so it paid off in the end!”
A student at Barker College and a journalism graduate from the University of New South Wales, Alex moved to London in 2012 and has been working for sports media company Deltatre – but his fandom for Cronulla never waned.
“Throughout the years you’d turn up at school, cop it, and also more recently the scandals and everything, having to think about whether the club could financially survive, whether they were going to be come the Perth Sharks and things like that – it’s been a rollercoaster journey. But with anything, I’m also a Liverpool fan through ancestry, it’s blood, it’s generational and once you’re with your team, you stick with them throughout.
“I’ve been thinking about this for a while but I’m not sure if my emotions will be able to control everything! I know certainly I’ll be staying at the stadium as long as possible if we win, and do everything I can to get down to the fan day and just soak it up and enjoy it because it’s been a long time coming.”
Obviously, Alex is expecting a Cronulla win – and you wouldn’t expect someone to make the 19+ hour journey for the big game just to predict their team to lose.
“I’m very confident. A lot of people think the last round performance against the Storm wasn’t up to scratch, but if anyone watched the Cowboys match you’ll see that we have that heart and I think even though we have inexperience in a stage like this, it’s time that we step up to the plate and I think that this playing group along with Shane Flanagan is gonna do it today.”