Former Cronulla chairman Damian Irvine joins English football club Notts County

Damian Irvine has landed on his feet following an eventful stint as Cronulla chairman, snaring an executive position with English football side Notts County FC.

The Magpies are the oldest professional football team in the world and are currently in League One of the Football League, the third tier in the English football league system.

On Thursday Notts County announced Irvine would be joining them at their Meadow Lane headquarters as their new commercial director. He has already made his mark with a new ticketing initiative called ''The Bench'', which allows selected supporters to be involved in the preparation for weekly games.

He drew on his own experiences as a Sharks fan to illustrate how those in the stands can make a difference.

"Before I ran Cronulla Sharks I was a supporter there as well," Irvine told the Magpies website.

"I found myself having a view and getting negative and even making a comment or two. I thought 'I don't want to be this person, I want to see the club get better, I want to help. The way to do that is to get involved and I encourage everyone else to do the same."

Irvine's time at the Sharks will be invaluable experience in his new role – Notts, currently last on the ladder, are also battling financially.

BALMAIN SOS

Dawn Fraser has appealed for a benefactor to step forward and secure the future of Balmain to ensure the heritage club survives.

Arguably Australia's greatest Olympian, Fraser bleeds black and gold and has spent plenty of time as a director of the Balmain and Wests Tigers boards. The champion swimmer is concerned about the latest dramas involving Rozelle Village after a Supreme Court injunction restrained the developer from calling in receivers.

"I would hate to see the Tigers fold – it's one of the most established clubs in the country," Fraser said.

"There are a lot of passionate Tigers fans that won't let it fold up. The directors I have spoken to certainly won't let that happen. Fans need to be very supportive of the black and gold. Please don't stop following us, we're a football team to be reckoned with and we don't want to hurt the players.

"It would be absolutely fantastic if somebody came along and said, 'Here's a fighting fund to get you out of, excuse the expression, the shit."

Fraser described the stand-off with Rozelle Village as a "smack in the face".

"I am hopeful it doesn't affect the players," she said.

"We've got a good team this year, a good crop of young players, and I hope this doesn't affect them."

FIFITA HONOURED

He may have represented City Origin instead of Country, but Andrew Fifita will always be a boy from the bush. Fresh from winning a World Cup and signing a fat new contract, the Cronulla prop had another win when the Griffith All-Schools carnival played for a cup named in his honour. A former Griffiths Waratah, Fifita travelled to EW Moore Oval at his old home town on Thursday to watch the action and present the Andrew Fifita Cup.

"It's a great honour and it's great I've had time to come down here," he said.

"The only bad thing is I didn't get to play for Country. At the end of the day I know where I'm from and where it got me.

"Group 20 is an awesome comp; plenty of names have come out of it. I'd tell any selector to come down and check out the talent here. If you grow up in the country, there's always the chance to live your dreams."

ELKIN IMBROGLIO

What are Parramatta to do about Trent Elkin? The former Cronulla trainer is appealing his NRL sanction of a two-year deregistration. As the matter goes to a tribunal, the Eels have been left in limbo.

"We haven't replaced Trent," said chief executive Scott Seward. "Our view from the start was we would take it as an opportunity to review the model on that. One thing we're looking at is the chief medical officer role, which takes away the head of physical performance position. We might replace, we might go down the same path. We'll look at what's right long-term."

POLICE PRESENCE

There was a huge contingent of police at Concord Oval on Wednesday morning. Given Balmain supporters woke up to headlines about the foundation club being under threat, it was assumed the boys in blue were called in to stop angry fans from storming the fort. Turns out the Wests Tigers base was being used as training venue for the force as they trialled their critical incident response plans.

NOT SO SUPER

Scores of Newcastle players and officials remain out of pocket after the club failed to pay their superannuation entitlements. We've been told of an instance where a Novocastrian hasn't been paid his super for almost two years.

TO HELL WITH HULL

Former Tigers and Knights fullback Shannon McDonnell is taking legal action against Hull FC after being released with a year to run on his contract. The club exercised a clause in his contract that if a player is unable to train for 26 weeks it can cross them off. McDonnell was injured in the Challenge Cup semi-final last season but claims he is back training. The players' union in the UK is supporting his action and it seems the dispute is set to go to a tribunal very soon.

MEMBERSHIP MILESTONE

For the first time in history, as of this week all NRL clubs now have more than 7000 members.

SAPPHIRES SHINE

The Sapphires, Canterbury's new cheerleaders, made their debut last week. The women have been given new corporate roles within the club after the change made headlines during the off season.

"The feedback has been pretty good so far," Canterbury chief executive Raelene Castle said.

"There was obviously a lot more controversy at the start than it probably warranted now that you can see where we've gotten to. It is really about showing respect for the girls and giving them a chance to be involved in the club at a significant level and be really respected along with the players."

BRAVO ROOSTERS

Something altogether sensible happened in League Land during the week. Roosters coach Trent Robinson and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves spoke openly and eloquently about the biggest talking point of their match against Parramatta, the coathanger from Darcy Lussick.

Strictly speaking, under the NRL's archaic rules regarding such matters, they could have been fined for broaching matters likely to come before the judiciary. Common sense prevailed and the tricolours weren't issued a breach notice.

It was refreshing to see players and coaches honestly talk about issues in the game without fear of reprisal. Well handled by all.

WESTIES RULE

There will be a celebration of all things Western Suburbs when the club hosts its Magpie Heritage Night on April 4. Roy Masters, Tom Raudonikis, Les Boyd, Ray Brown and John Dorahy will be among the luminaries telling tall tales and true to celebrate their Heritage Round clash against Manly. To be a part of the Fibros v Silvertails event at Wests Ashfield Leagues Club call (02) 8752 2000.

COACH MORRIS

With an eye on his career post football, Cronulla veteran John Morris is putting his masters of coaching to good use by switching to the clipboard once a week.

Morris, who completed the course at the University of Sydney last year, is lending a hand to Cronulla’s under-16 and under-18 junior representative teams as he makes his move into the coaching ranks.

“Noycey [chief executive Steve Noyce] is pretty keen to get players involved in the club who are passionate about extending their career beyond footy and coaching is what I want to get into,” Morris said. “I do a little bit with the junior reps, just one day a week and a bit of mentoring and help the junior coaches out.”

Morris, who is heading into his 14th and potentially last last season in the NRL, wants to coach long-term.

“It’s been really good and something I want to do down the track,” Morris said.

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