Blood in the water at Shark Park
The cash-strapped Cronulla Sharks have been forced to sack 10 staff members to slash costs across the business amid genuine fears of the club's long term viability.
Under directions from the board, chief executive Barry Russell handed out the redundancies to employees from commercial, digital/media and events on Tuesday.
The staff members will leave before Christmas.
The Daily Telegraph understands the Sharks finished last season with a $3 million loss, despite a $13 million grant from the NRL.
The sacking will save around $1.5 million next year.
NRL boss Todd Greenberg and his finance staff are monitoring the situation closely.
The Sharks have no major sponsor for 2019. Only one of four sponsor positions on the Sharks' jersey has been sold.
Revenue from unit sales at the development site next to Shark Park has been used to clear debts of more than $6 million rather being invested into football operations.
Cronulla's financial plight is of a huge concern to the NRL.
The club is also under investigation for salary cap rorting in 2015 and revelations of a fake invoice scam and bogus $100,000 loan to players.
The club is still paying off the loan and facing a huge fine from the NRL.
The Sharks have been unable to offer coach Shane Flanagan a coaching extension because of the financial crisis.
The sackings leave the Sharks with an administration staff of only 12 and all about 25.
They have to compete against teams like the Brisbane Broncos who employ 80 staff members.
The NRL is refusing to offer Cronulla any financial assistance.
The situation is so diabolical that a recent request for new computer equipment from the coaching staff was rejected.
There are suggestions the NRL side will be forced to play under the salary cap next year to save more costs although it will not affect the signing of champion Kiwi half-back Shaun Johnson, who will be getting the money from Valentine Holmes' departure.
The Daily Telegraph is seeking comment from the Sharks and the NRL.