The Sharks had offered the trip as part of their season-ticket campaign and 10 finalists were in with a shot at the prize, with the winner in the hands - or should that be on the boot - of centre Jean Drotske.
Ten cones, each labelled with a name of a finalist, were placed on the Kings Park pitch and Drotske kicked a ball towards the cones. The cone hit by the ball determined the winner.
Drotske’s boot was golden for Durban North couple Vanessa and Dell Berry, and within a matter of days they were winging it to Hong Kong with the Sharks squad.
“We were moving home and were busy with a number of things when out of the blue the phone rang,” Vanessa said. “It was the Sharks to say we had won an all-expenses-paid trip to Hong Kong with the team. We have been season ticket holders for 17 years and love our team, but could never have expected a trip like this one to come from nowhere.”
The Berrys travelled with the squad, stayed in the same hotel as the players and had five nights of fun and frivolity, some of it with the team.
“We were included in a number of the team’s social activities but were very impressed with their professionalism,” Vanessa said. “These guys train hard and know how to have fun, but they keep it very tidy. They have a laugh with their mates but are in bed early and back at training in the morning.”
The Berrys were highly impressed by the friendliness of the players.
“They were so polite and enthusiastic about what they were doing. We were blown away by their professionalism,” Vanessa said.
In a huge highlight for the couple, they had the rare privilege of travelling on the team bus to the match, usually a highly private journey.
“What an insight to see the state of mind of the players on the trip from the hotel to the stadium,” she said. “It was very silent and you could see the focus.
“It really was the trip of a lifetime and a wonderful insight into the professionalism of the Sharks.”