NRL Central Wiki

The Parramatta Eels were founded in 1947 and played their first game on 12 April of the same year. A crowd of about 6000 turned out for the Eels first competition game against Newtown at Cumberland Oval, which is now the site of Parramatta Stadium.

The Eels first competition success came in 1964 with a Third Grade Premiership. The Club struggled with results until the 1975 season when Norm Provan coached the First Grade team to the semi-finals and Terry Fearnleys Reserve Grade team won the competition.

Parramatta eventually won a First Grade title on 21 March, 1975 when they were successful in the pre-season Wills Cup.

The Eels’ First Grade Grand Final debut came in 1976. They were beaten 13-10 by Manly and in the Grand Final the following year were defeated by St George after the first ever Grand Final replay.

Parramatta finally experienced First Grade success in the 1981 Grand Final when they defeated Newtown by 20 points to 11. The team included such greats as Bob O’Reilly, Steve Edge, Brett Kenny, Steve Ella, Ron Hilditch, Mick Cronin, Ray Price and Peter Sterling.

They once again proved successful in 1982 when they defeated Manly 21-8 and defended their premiership the next year, defeating Manly again by 18 points to 6.

Canterbury beat them 6-4 in the Grand Final of 1984 and the Eels were again victor’s in 1986 beating Canterbury 4-2. This coincided with the opening of Parramatta Stadium, which was opened by Queen Elizabeth II on 5 March, 1986.

In the 1999 season, the Eels emerged as genuine premiership contenders once again, under Head Coach Brian Smith. The Jersey Flegg and First Grade Teams were defeated in the Grand Final Qualifier, with the Harold Matthews, S.G. Ball and First Division Grand Final winners. This success continued in 2000 with Jersey Flegg, First Division and the NRL team making the finals series.

In 2001 the Eels took out the Club Championship for the fifth consecutive year and secured the Minor Premiership three weeks out from the Final Series, breaking almost every record in the history books along the way.

The Eels scored 151 tries in 2001, beating the all time try scoring record in a regular season of 131, set in 1935 by Easts, and the Broncos record for an entire season of 149, also set in 1998.

In a rugby league first, the entire Eels team took out the “Ken Stephen Award” for outstanding community involvement at the annual ‘Grand Final Breakfast’. Over the years, the Ken Stephen Award has been awarded to an individual player who has participated in numerous community events far and beyond what is asked or expected of an NRL player. In 2001 the Parramatta Eels were nominated as a team for their outstanding community efforts with the Eels on Wheels project, the Ronald McDonald House and the “Parra Room” at Westmead Children’s Hospital, and their contribution to promoting Daffodil Day when the entire team dyed their hair yellow.

2002 was another successful year for the Parramatta Eels. The season began with Luke Burt breaking the record for most points in a first grade match for the Eels when he scored 28 in the 64 - 6 victory over Penrith.

2003 saw Nathan Cayless, Michael Vella and Daniel Wagon all play in their 100th First Grade match in Parramatta colours, while the Round Three victory over Newcastle was Coach Brian Smith’s 100th as Coach of Parramatta.

Whilst 2004 may not have delivered the level of onfield success the Club sought, it did see Luke Burt play his 100th First Grade match for the Eels, whilst Dean Widders community work was recognised by the NRL with the awarding of the Ken Stephen Medal at the annual Grand Final Breakfast.

2005 saw the return of the Eels to the top of the Premiership table, securing the Minor Premiership title for the first time since 2001. Sell-out crowds against the Bulldogs, Dragons and Broncos ensured a great atmosphere at Parramatta Stadium. Tim Smith was named NRL Rookie of the Year whilst Nathan Hindmarsh and Eric Grothe were judged the best in their position at the annual Dally M Awards.

Despite a slow start to the 2006 season, the Eels reached the final eight where they were defeated by eventual Runners Up Melbourne. Jarryd Hayne was named Dally M Rookie of the Year and Nathan Hindmarsh took out the Second Rower and People's Choice Awards.

The Parramatta National Rugby League Club can reflect proudly on its achievements from its opening game in 1947 to its premiership successes. Overall the Club is one which prides itself on being successful, innovative and professional.