Sharks, Marlins make big moves

Group Seven has cleared the path for Shellharbour to become St George Illawarra's official feeder club.Grand finalists in three grades in 2008, the Shellharbour Sharks have left Group Seven and will play in the Illawarra Carlton League from next season.The Shellharbour Marlins are also set to leave the Jim Beam Cup and earn a promotion to the NSWRL VB Cup competition.The Marlins formed two years ago, reaching the semi-finals this season and gaining maximum exposure through Wendell Sailor's highly publicised comeback to league.Shellharbour president Peter Blaine yesterday confirmed the club was in the process of establishing stronger links with the Dragons."We'll know more next week and then we'll make an announcement, but we're investigating opportunities to put the Marlins into the VB Cup, effectively as St George Illawarra's reserve grade side. "The Marlins had a good season, the depth is there in our juniors and seniors with the Sharks, and the time just seems right to make the move."We still need to expand our player base with the Marlins and the next thing we'll be looking at is recruiting."The Sharks become the ninth Carlton League club, while Group Seven drops back to eight teams. There is also increasing speculation Group Seven's Regan Cup competition will merge with Carlton League's CUB Cup for 2009.Blaine said Shellharbour's move to Wollongong made sense."It's just a Group we're probably better suited to, both geographically and from a sponsors' point of view," he said."It might take a couple of years to find our feet, but we're certainly looking forward to the challenge."Who knows, I might be going back to Group Seven with hat in hand in a couple of years."But you don't know unless you try and it's a risk and a challenge we're prepared to undertake."