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The Parramatta Eels are an Australian professional rugby league football club based in the Sydneymarker suburb of Parramattamarker. 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 grades and junior competitions run by the New South Wales Rugby League where they are typically a consistent premiership winning force.


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 Ovalmarker. 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.

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.

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.

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. 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 lost 22–0. The team made the finals in both 1978 and 1979, but missed the finals in 1980 for the first time since 1974.

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, Peter Sterling, 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.

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.

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


Position Pld Won Drew Lost Bye Points For Points Against Points Differential
4th (of 20) 24 17 1 6 - 468 349 +119

Parramatta finished 4th in the newly created 20-team NRL. The Eels had a highly successful Finals Series, beating the North Sydney Bears in a Qualifying Final and then backing up to defeat eventual premiers Brisbane Broncos 15-10. Due to the win, Parramatta gained a week off before clashing with the Bulldogs in a Grand Final Qualifier. The game was poised at 18-2 in favour of the Eels with 11 minutes to go. However, the Bulldogs managed a late resurgence to tie the game up at 18-18. Parramatta then went on to lose the match, 32-20 in Extra Time.

In the off-season, the Parramatta board explored mergers with Penrith Panthers and Balmain Tigers but opted against the plan.


Position Pld Won Drew Lost Bye Points For Points Against Points Differential
2nd (of 17) 24 17 0 7 2 500 294 +206

The Parramatta Eels continued their success and consistency into the second year of the new National Rugby League, finishing 2nd behind Minor Premiers Cronulla Sharks. The Eels kicked off their finals series with a comfortable 30-16 win at Parramatta Stadiummarker. However Parramatta could not back up that performance against the Melbourne Storm, after having a week off. The Storm won 18-16 at the SFS in a close match, but the result meant that Parramatta went one more season without winning a Premiership and the 'chokers' tag stayed.


Position Pld Won Drew Lost Bye Points For Points Against Points Differential
7th (of 14) 26 14 1 11 - 476 456 +20

The Eels finished an inconsistent Season 2000 in 7th place. 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 Stadiummarker. 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 Broncos won the match 16-10.


Position Pld Won Drew Lost Bye Points For Points Against Points Differential
1st (of 14) 24 20 2 4 - 839 406 +433

In 2001, Parramatta set a regular-season points scoring record in the premiership by scoring 839 points in 26 matches on their way to claiming the minor premiership. In their 5th consecutive Finals Series, the Eels dominated the Series, starting with a 56-12 demolition of the New Zealand Warriors at Parramatta Stadiummarker in front of 17,336. After getting a week off, the Eels defeated the Brisbane Broncos at Stadium Australia, 24–16.

The Eels went into the decider hot favourites after losing just once in 22 matches. Despite this the team was defeated in their first grand final appearance in fifteen years. They lost 30–24 against the Newcastle Knights, after trailing 24–0 at half-time.


Position Pld Won Drew Lost Bye Points For Points Against Points Differential
6th (of 15) 24 10 2 12 2 538 498 +40

Season 2002 ended with the Parramatta Eels finishing in 6th place. The side lost in the first week of the finals 24-14 to the Brisbane Broncos at what was then known as ANZ Stadium. However, this loss resulted in the elimination of the Eels from the 2002 Finals Series as 7th place St. George Illawarra Dragons upset the defending premiers, Newcastle Knights.


Position Pld Won Drew Lost Bye Points For Points Against Points Differential
9th (of 15) 24 11 0 13 2 570 582 -12

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 the Penrith Panthers 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.


Position Pld Won Drew Lost Bye Points For Points Against Points Differential
12th (of 15) 24 9 0 15 2 517 626 -107

Season 2004 was the worst in some time for the Parramatta Eels. After only managing 9 wins in 24 games, the Eels finished 12th and missed out on the Finals for the second year running. This was a grave cause for concern at the club who had not seen a Premiership victory since 1986.


Position Pld Won Drew Lost Bye Points For Points Against Points Differential
1st (of 15) 24 16 0 8 2 704 456 +248

2005 marked a resurgence of the Parramatta Eels. After two years in the wilderness, the Eels were back into premiership contention after ending the season as minor premiers on 36 points, ahead of the St. George Illawarra Dragons on points differential. The first week of the 2005 Finals Series saw a comfortable 46-22 win over the Manly Sea Eagles, who were in their first finals campaign since the creation of the National Rugby League in 1998. Following the week off, the Parramatta Eels were annihilated by the Johnathan Thurston-led North Queensland Cowboys at ANZ Stadiummarker, 29-0, ending another season in disappointment.


Position Pld Won Drew Lost Bye Points For Points Against Points Differential
8th (of 15) 24 12 0 12 2 506 483 +23

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.


Position Pld Won Drew Lost Bye Points For Points Against Points Differential
5th (of 16) 24 13 0 11 2 573 481 +29

Under new coach Michael Hagan, the Eels saw a great performance in Season 2007, where the Eels finished in 5th position. In the first week of the Finals, they defeated the New Zealand Warriors away, 12-10 to set-up a huge clash with the Bulldogs the following week. In an incident-filled match at ANZ Stadium in front of 50,621, the Eels ran out 25-6 winners booking them in a Preliminary Final clash with Minor Premiers Melbourne Storm. In a gruelling match at Melbourne's Telstra Domemarker, the Storm eventually won 26-10 ending the Eels' 2007 season, one win away from their first Grand Final appearance since 2001.

parramata's junior squad was the best junior side in the last 20 years going all season undeafted most of the squad are now currently feauterd in the top grade with the expection of the then captain matt barber who broke all records for points scored in a season with 446 and setting up 33 tries then man who got the clubs rookie of the year has since been cruelled with injurie which has seemingly pre-metuarliy ended his nrl career. other stand outs were brod wright who has just signed a contract startd 2010 with the sharks


Position Pld Won Drew Lost Bye Points For Points Against Points Differential
11th (of 16) 24 11 0 13 2 501 547 -46

After being billed at premiership contenders by several prominent betting agencies, including TAB SportsBet , the Parramatta Eels failed to impress in the 2008, a season that could only be described as a huge disappointment. The Eels finished 11th in an inconsistent season marred by Jarryd Hayne's controversial shooting incident in the pre-season. Despite the poor performance by Parramatta, CEO Denis Fitzgerald stressed that Michael Hagan's position as club coach was not in danger. Michael Hagan resigned as coach on October 21, 2008, citing family and health reasons for his decision.


Position Pld Won Drew Lost Bye Points For Points Against Points Differential
8th (of 16) 24 12 1 11 2 476 473 -3

Under new coach Daniel Anderson, the Eels had an indifferent start to the season which saw the release of star halfback Brett Finch. By the mid-way point of the season, the Parramatta Eels were sitting third-last and were in direct contention for the 2009 NRL Wooden Spoon. TAB SportsBet had the Eels as $151 outsiders to win the NRL Premiership. This changed when upset victories against the Melbourne Storm and the Bulldogs set the platform for a 7-game winning streak which propelled the Eels into the Top 8 and, consequently, premiership contention. After a heavy 37-0 Round 26 defeat to the minor premiers St George-Illawarra Dragons, they returned to Kogarah in Week 1 of the 2009 NRL Finals Series and defeated the Dragons 25-12 featuring an impressive late game try by Dally M medal winner Jarryd Hayne. Following successive wins against the Gold Coast Titans (a team that Parramatta had never beaten before), 27-2 at SFS and the Bulldogs, 22-12 in front of a record-breaking non-Grand Final crowd of 74,549 at ANZ stadium, the Eels qualified for their first Grand Final since 2001, becoming the first 8th-placed team to ever qualify for a Grand Final. On 4 October, 2009, Parramatta Eels played the deciding game of NRL, against the Melbourne Storm at ANZ Stadiummarker in front of a crowd of 82,538. The Melbourne Storm won 23-16, winning the NRL Premiership.


Position Pld Won Drew Lost Bye Points For Points Against Points Differential
0th (of 16) 0 0 0 0 0 0 +0

The Parramatta Eels have been installed as favourites for the 2010 NRL Premiership.


Like most NSWRFL clubs founded before the 1980s, Parramatta was established with no official nickname or mascot. The only nickname Parramatta had ever been known by was the "Fruitpickers", a reference to the orchards spread throughout the District and surrounding suburbs in the first half of the 20th century. As the competition and the clubs themselves became more focused on marketing in the 1970s, Parramatta adopted an official club mascot.

In the mid-1960s, Peter Frilingos, a Sydney rugby league journalist, suggested that the club should be known as the "Eels". This reasoning was based on the name of the Parramatta, anglicised from the Aboriginal dialect "Barramattagal" meaning "place where the Eels dwell". After this, the team was commonly called "The Eels" and it became an official nickname in the late 1970s.

a result, the club's crest was changed in 1980, to a design featuring an eel. This crest remained, despite several changes in jersey design, until a new eel logo was introduced in 2000. In 2005, the club mascot featured on the crest reverted to an eel drawing similar to that featured on the original crest.

has also used two separate crests based on Parramatta City's crest. The first was a highly-detailed scene showing a typical scene on the foreshore of the Parramatta River in the early days of European settlement. It is an apparent tribute to the District's original occupants, the Barramattagal tribe. In the foreground of the original crest, a male Aboriginal is preparing to spear a fish while a woman in a canoe watches. In the background a paddle steamer is visible as well as the tree-lined banks of the Parramatta River. This crest was used by the Club until the 1970s when a more stylised version showing only the hunter, and the club's name on a scroll, was used. This crest is still used in 2006 by the Parramatta District Junior Rugby League Football Club.


When a Parramatta District Club was first proposed in 1936, the colours put forward to the New South Wales Rugby League by the District were emerald green and white, as these were the colours worn by the Western Districts President's Cup side and the Western Suburbs Rugby Union Club. However, when the proposal for a Parramatta club was next put to the NSWRL in 1946, the proposed colours for the new District side were blue and gold. These colours are said to have been selected based on the navy, sky blue and gold colours used by Parramatta High School. These colours were also adopted by the Parramatta District Rugby Union club in 1936 and also suggested in Parramatta City Council'smarker use of livery of blue and golden-orange in their crest. While this colour scheme has remained consistent throughout the history of the club, the shades of blue and gold have changed several times.

The original Parramatta jersey used in 1947 was of a blue design with a single yellow hoop around the middle of the jersey, extending across the sleves. This original design was altered in 1949 to a design based on blue and gold hoops and remained unchanged until the 1970s when a jersey comprising stripes on a predominantly blue or gold background was adopted. Over the years, the design has changed gradually from one based on blue and gold stripes to a design incorporating different blue and gold designs around the fringes of a predominantly blue or gold jersey.


Rugby league was played at Cumberland Oval from as early as 1909 by local clubs such as Parramatta Iona, Endeavours and the Western Districts representative side. When the club was admitted into the NSWRL Premiership in 1947, Cumberland Oval became its home ground. The club played its first match in the premiership on 12 April 1947 against Newtown, being defeated 34–12 in front of 6,000 spectators. Cumberland Oval remained the home ground of the Parramatta Eels until 1981; the club played their last match there against the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles. Later that year, after the Parramatta Eels secured their first-ever Premiership trophy, Eels fans rallied at Cumberland Oval; during the celebrations, fans set fire to the ground's soon-to-be-demolished stand.

From 1982 to 1985, the club used Belmore Ovalmarker, home of the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, as a temporary home ground while a new facility (Parramatta Stadium) was built. The new stadium to be built on the site of Cumberland Oval was approved by the New South Walesmarker Government for development in 1983 and the contract for the construction and design of the Stadium was put to competitive tender. After construction was completed in November 1985, the club played its first match at the new stadium on 16 March 1986 winning this opening game 36–6 against the St. George Dragons. The capacity of the ground is 21,487, after the construction of seated terraces on the previously hilled areas in 2002.

The largest crowd to watch a rugby league match at Cumberland Oval was 22,470 when the Parramatta took on the South Sydney Rabbitohs on 26 April 1971. The largest crowd at Parrmatta Stadium under the current configuration was 21,141 in 2006 against the Wests Tigers.


Parramatta's most significant and famous rivalry is with Northern Beaches-based club Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles. Though both clubs were formed in the same year, this rivalry did not develop until the 1970s and 1980s when the clubs faced each other in three Grand Finals: in 1976, 1982 and 1983. The clubs also competed in several play-off finals matches during this period including a controversial drawn semi-final and subsequent replay in 1978. The famous rivalry between the clubs was also marked in an advertising jingle in a 1970s Tooheys television commercial. The rivalry has been regularly rekindled at various times since, particularly when Parramatta players have transferred to play with Manly.

A similar rivalry also developed between Parramatta and the Bulldogs during the 1980s when the clubs faced one another in Grand Finals in 1984 and 1986 as well as regular play-off matches during this period. This rivalry received renewed impetus during the Super League war when Parramatta recruited 4 notable Bulldogs players.

Another significant rivalry is with neighbouring Western Sydney club the Penrith Panthers. The match between the two is known as the "Western Sydney derby" or "The Battle of the West". Aside from local 'bragging rights' the rivalry is also partly founded in bitterness associated with the former status of the Penrithmarker district as part of the Parramatta rugby league district. The relationship between local Penrith clubs and the Parramatta District was often problematic; players and officials in the Penrith area considered themselves ignored and neglected by the Parramatta club during the 1950s and 1960s.

Statistics and records

Individual Records

Most Appearances (200+)
  1. Brett Kenny (265) from 1980 - 1993
  2. Ray Price (258) from 1976 - 1986
  3. Nathan Hindmarsh (258) from 1998 - present
  4. Peter Sterling (227) from 1978 - 1992
  5. Mick Cronin (216) from 1977 - 1986

Scoring records

Mick Cronin holds the record for most number of points scored across all grades (2,001) between 1977 and 1986. Cronin also holds the record for most points scored in a single season (282) in 1978. Brett Kenny holds the record for most First Grade tries (110) between 1980 and 1992. Second is Luke Burt, scoring his 100th try during the Bulldogs-Eels Preliminary final, with Eels winning 22-16 and winning a Grand Final appearance.

Parramatta's largest victory was a 74 - 4 win over Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks on 23 August 2003 at Parramatta Stadium. The club's largest defeat was a 0 - 68 loss to Canberra Raiders on 22 August 1993 at Canberra Stadiummarker.


The largest crowd Parramatta has played before was 104,583 at Telstra Stadiummarker in the Round 1 'doubleheader' in 1999. The largest home crowd at Parramatta Stadium, before the construction of the hill terraces, was 27,243 against South Sydney Rabbitohs on 17 August 1986.

All Time Match Record

The all time playing record for the Parramatta team since 1947 (including finals).
Games Wins Draw Losses Win % Correct to
1412 656 38 718 46% 5 October 2009


Current Squad

The following list comprises players who make up the Top 25 squad of the Parramatta Eels first grade team in 2010.

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:


The first grade Parramatta Eels team has been coached by 25 different coaches since foundation.

Notable Supporters



  1. Alan Whiticker, Grand Finals of the NSWRL (2e), Gary Allen, 1994
  2. Alan Whiticker, Grand Finals of the NSWRL (2e), Gary Allen 1994
  5. Resigned 15 May 2006

External links

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