PORT Macquarie painter Craig Taylor has been a rugby league tragic for more than four decades, with a special soft spot for his beloved Cronulla Sharks.
And the Sharks hierarchy have now recognised Taylor's enthusiasm for the club by appointing him to a committee of seven season ticket holders from the country and interstate to offer advice about where the Sharks should be heading.
Taylor is one of a select group living away from Sydney who will have a phone conference four times a year to have their say on the club's affairs.
There is also a group of Sydney-based fans who will meet regularly face-to-face in the shire.
The Sharks will host Taylor and his fellow out-of-town fans at one home game a year as a 'thank you' for their contribution.
"We won't be like politicians," he laughed. "We will be out of pocket every time we turn up at Shark Park. It will be a labour of love."
His love affair with league started as an 11-year-old in 1981 when he played his first game for Erina on the Central Coast.
It was then that Taylor adopted the Sharks as his favourite premiership side.
He can't recall why.
"They must have looked as if they were going to win the premiership," he said.
"But I've been a Sharkie ever since."
It was been an unrequited love.
The records show that Cronulla has still to win a grand final, although they have gone close on three occasions (1973 and 1978 and in 1997 with Super League).
"But you are only a true fan if you follow a side through thick and thin," Taylor said.
"You pay to be a member even if, like me, you can't get to many matches.
"And when they finish stone-motherless last like the Sharks did last year, you shrug it off and buy your season ticket for the following season."
Taylor, who also gives his all as president of the Port Macquarie Boardriders in the Hastings League, is keeping his fingers crossed for Sunday's finals clash with the premiers South Sydney.
He's hoping for a better result than last weekend, when he flew to Sydney to watch Cronulla try to cement a place in the top four, only to see victory snatched away from them by Manly late in the match.
"I'm confident this time," he said.
"Then there will be only three more wins and we'll have our very first premiership.
"Wouldn't that be great?"