Parramatta Eels


Parramatta Eels

Infobox rugby league club
clubname = Parramatta Eels


fullname = Parramatta District Rugby League Football Club
nickname =
short name =
founded = 1947 as "Parramatta"
ground = Parramatta Stadium Parramatta, Sydney
capacity = 20,000
ceo = Denis Fitzgerald
mgrtitle = Coach
manager = Michael Hagan
URL = [http://www.parraeels.com.au parraeels.com.au]
league = National Rugby League
season = 2008
position = 11th
homejersey = Parramatta Eels home jersey 2004.svg
awayjersey = Parramatta Eels away jersey 2004.svg
The Parramatta Eels are an Australian professional rugby league football club based in the Sydney suburb of Parramatta. The Parramatta District Rugby League Football Club was formed in 1946, with their First Grade side playing their first season in the New South Wales Rugby Football League premiership's 40th season in 1947.

The club was highly successful in the early 1980s, winning four premierships and qualifying for five Grand Finals within six successive seasons. This was a golden era for the club and has yielded their only four premerships. The club plays in the National Rugby League, the premier rugby league football competition in Australasia. Parramatta sides are also fielded in lower grade and junior competitions run by the New South Wales Rugby League.

History

Pre-NRL History

The roots of the playing of rugby union and rugby league in Parramatta lie in the 19th century with the formation of the Parramatta Rugby Club in 1879. With the advent of a Sydney District competition in 1900, the Parramatta club merged with Western Suburbs and played some of its matches at Cumberland Oval. On a local level, rugby league began to be played in 1909 when a district competition was formed. Other clubs in the Parramatta district also emerged; over the ensuing decades, clubs established in suburbs throughout the area.cite web|last=Fagan|first=Sean|url=http://www.rl1908.com/Clubs/Cumberland-Rugby-League.htm|publisher=RL1908|title=Cumberland RLFC|accessdate=2007-09-18]

Pressure in the area for a local club to participate in the New South Wales Rugby League premiership began in the mid-1930s with a formal proposal put to the NSWRL in 1936 by local rugby league identities such as Jack Argent and Jack Scullin. The proposal was rejected by all clubs except Western Suburbs who, despite having the most to lose from the entrance of a Parramatta side (with much of their territory being lost to Parramatta), voted for the entrance of the new club. The advent of World War II put the establishment of the club on hold and a Parramatta district club was not proposed again until 1946 when the club was successfully admitted into the Premiership.cite web|last=Fagan|first=Sean|url=http://www.rl1908.com/Clubs/Parramatta-Eels.htm|publisher=RL1908|title=Parramatta Eels|accessdate=2007-09-18]

Parramatta saw very little success in their early years, finishing last in the competition 6 years in a row from 1956 to 1961. The club's only relative high points were narrowly missing out on finals qualification in 1948 and 1949 under the guidance of former Western Suburbs and Leeds five-eighth Vic Hey. In 1962, Parramatta made the finals for the first time; this achievement was repeated for three consecutive years to 1965. However, the club slid back down the ladder in the following years, collecting the wooden spoon in 1970. The club's first major success came in 1975 when they won the Pre-Season cup, defeating Manly-Warringah in the competition's final.cite book|coauthors=Whiticker, Alan and Collis, Ian.|year=2004|publisher=New Holland Publishers (Australia) Pty Ltd.|title=The History of Rugby League Clubs|isbn=1-74110-075-5]

In 1976, the club finally reached the NSWRL Grand Final, in their 30th year. However, they lost narrowly to a Manly-Warringah side that they had defeated just two weeks earlier. [cite web|last=Fagan|first=Sean|url=http://rl1908.com/articles/Parramatta.htm|publisher=RL1908|title=The Eels' Flying Wedge of '76 |accessdate=2006-09-05] [Alan Whiticker, "Grand Finals of the NSWRL" (2e), Gary Allen, 1994] The following year, Parramatta captured their first minor premiership before qualifying for the Grand Final for the second year running. Against St. George, the match was drawn 9–9, forcing a Grand Final replay the following weekend. In this match, Parramatta choked 22–0. [cite web|first=Sean|url=http://www.eraofthebiff.com/mm08.html|publisher=Era of the Biff|title=1977 Tied Rugby League Grand Final |accessdate=2006-09-05] [Alan Whiticker, "Grand Finals of the NSWRL" (2e), Gary Allen 1994] The team made the finals in both 1978 and 1979, but missed the finals in 1980 for the first time since 1974.cite book|coauthors=Whiticker, Alan and Collis, Ian.|year=2004|publisher=New Holland Publishers (Australia) Pty Ltd.|title=The History of Rugby League Clubs|isbn=1-74110-075-5]

The early 1980s was unquestionably the most successful period for the Eels, with the club earning five Grand Final appearances and four premierships from 1981 to 1986. Under the influence of coach Jack Gibson and with a team including names such as Ray Price, Eric Grothe, Sr., Steve Ella, Mick Cronin and Brett Kenny, the club captured three consecutive premierships from 1981 to 1983, the most recent "threepeat" in the competition's history. In 1984 the team once again reached the Grand Final, but lost in a low-scoring Grand Final to the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 6–4. In 1986, the club took out their third minor premiership while also reaching the Grand Final, beating Canterbury 4–2 in the lowest-scoring Grand Final in history.cite book|coauthors=Whiticker, Alan and Collis, Ian.|year=2004|publisher=New Holland Publishers (Australia) Pty Ltd.|title=The History of Rugby League Clubs|isbn=1-74110-075-5]

From 1987 to 1996, the club failed to make the finals. With the advent of the Super League war in the mid-1990s, Parramatta capitalised on staying with the Australian Rugby League by picking up high-profile players such as Dean Pay, Jason Smith, Jim Dymock and Jarrod McCracken from the 1995 premiership-winning side, the Sydney Bulldogs. [cite news|url=http://www.smh.com.au/news/League/How-the-war-unfolded/2005/03/25/1111692633683.html|publisher=The Sydney Morning Herald|date=2005-03-26|title=How the war unfolded|accessdate=2007-09-18] cite news|coauthors=Mascord, Steve and Walter, Brad|url=http://www.smh.com.au/news/league/double-punt-is-finally-paying-off/2005/09/23/1126982232466.html|publisher=The Sydney Morning Herald|date=2005-03-26|title=Double punt is finally paying off|accessdate=2007-09-18]

In 1997, the club made the finals for the first time in 11 seasons by finishing 3rd in the Australian Rugby League competition.

1998 - The First NRL Season

The Eels finished an inconsistent Season 2000 in 7th place, which included Parramatta being handed the two competition points that was stripped from the North Queensland Cowboys after it was later revealed that they unwittingly used a fourteenth player for three minutes in their 26-18 win against the Parramatta Eels, due to an error in interchanging players. However, in the first week of the 2000 Finals Series, Parramatta was involved in the biggest upset, defeating Sydney Roosters 32-8 at the Sydney Football Stadium. The Eels managed to repeat the result against local rivals Penrith Panthers the next week in a comfortable 28-10 win in front of 25,746 at the SFS, meaning that the Parramatta Eels reached their third straight NRL Preliminary Final. The Eels were looking to make it "Third Time Lucky" against the former NRL premiers, Brisbane Broncos, but it ended up to be "Third Time Unlucky" as the Brisbane Broncos won the match 16-10.

2001 - The Grand Final

After reaching the Finals Series every year for the last six years, Parramatta could not make it a 7th year running as they finished 9th in the 2002 Season. Needing to beat runaway Minor Premiers by over 30 points in the final round, the Eels were comprehensively beaten away, signalling the need for changes at the club should they continue to be successful.

2004 - Cause For Concern

The Parramatta Eels began Season 2006 with the knowledge that their coach Brian Smith, would not be there next season, after being asked to step down by the management of the Parramatta Eels rugby league club in what turned out to be a direct trade with the Newcastle Knights club for their coach, Michael Hagan. However, Brian Smith resigned officially on 15 May, 2006, after an extremely poor start to the season, which left the Eels running 14th and second-last. Assistant coach and former Eels great, Jason Taylor, took over as caretaker manager for the rest of the season and led a Parramatta resurgence in the second-half of the season to eventually reach 8th position by season's end. They were, however, eliminated by eventual runners-up Melbourne Storm in the first week of the Finals, 12-6.

2007 - Hagan's Heroes

2008 Squad

The following list comprises players who make up the Top 25 squad of the Parramatta Eels first-grade team in 2008.

Rugby league squad player|no=608|nat=Australia|pos=WG|name=Eric Grothejr.

Notable players

In 2002 a team of the greatest Parramatta players, known as the "Parramatta Legends", were selected based on a public vote of fans. In August of that year the following players were named in each position: [cite web|url=http://www.parraeels.com.au/news/news343.asp|publisher=Parramatta Eels|date=2002-08-29|title=Legends Dinner|accessdate=2007-03-03]

Honours

*sport honours|New South Wales Rugby League, Australian Rugby League and National Rugby League Premierships [Up until 1994, the top division of the premiership in New South Wales was the New South Wales Rugby League premiership; since then, it has been the Australian Rugby League (1995-1997) and the National Rugby League.] |4|1981, 1982, 1983, 1986
*sport honours|Premiership runners-up|4|1976, 1977, 1984, 2001
*sport honours|New South Wales Rugby League, Australian Rugby League and National Rugby League Minor Premierships|5|1977, 1982, 1986, 2001, 2005
*sport honours|New South Wales Rugby League Club Championships|17|1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1986, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2008
*sport honours|Pre-Season Cup Titles|1|1975
*sport honours|Tooth Cup|2|1980, 1986
*sport honours|Rugby League World Sevens|2|1997, 2003
*sport honours|First Division, Premier League [Up until 2002, the second division of rugby league in New South Wales was Reserve Grade/Presidents Cup/First Division Premiers; since then, it has been the NSWRL Premier League.] |9|1975, 1977, 1979, 1997, 1999, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 (as wentworthville)
*sport honours|Jersey Flegg Cup|3|1970, 1985, 1990
*sport honours|SG Ball Cup|11|1966, 1967, 1968, 1973, 1983, 1987, 1988, 1991, 1993, 1999, 2007
*sport honours|Harold Matthews Cup|17|1970, 1971, 1972, 1975, 1976, 1981, 1982, 1986, 1988, 1990, 1994, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2003, 2004, 2008
*sport honours|Bandaged Bear Cup|2|2007, 2008
*sport honours|Jack Gibson Cup|1|2008

Footnotes

External links

* [http://www.parraeels.com.au/ Official Parramatta Eels website]
* [http://www.nrl.com/ National Rugby League website]
* [http://www.nswrl.com.au/ New South Wales Rugby League website]


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