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The moments, magic and mayhem inspiring Parramatta’s 36-year wait for glory


For 36 years they have waited for the drought to end. Through 36 halfbacks that have walked in the shadow of the great Peter Sterling.

Yes, this one’s for you, Sterlo. It’s for the curse of the No.7 jersey.

From Jason Bell to Ben Kusto. It’s for Chris Sandow. For Brad Arthur supposedly not playing him right.

It’s for Tim Smith’s record-breaking 40 try assists in one season. This one’s for you, Mitchell.

Mitchell Moses at the Eels fan day this week.Credit:Sydney Morning Herald

For the 13 different teams from four different states that have lifted the trophy in the 13,153 days since the Eels last did.

This is for Ricky Stuart, once hailed the best signing since Jack Gibson before walking out on the club 12 months later.

For the trail of destruction his overhead projector left behind. For the 12 players it wiped out.

From Reni Maitua to Cheyse Blair. This is for Matt Keating. It’s for his brother, Kris. It’s for all the brothers.

From Matt and Phil Adamson to Nathan and Jason Cayless. This is for Ian and Nathan Hindmarsh. For the 330 games Hindy played. For the premierships he never won.

Brian Smith leading a training session with Eels players, including Nathan Hindmarsh (right), in 2006.

Brian Smith leading a training session with Eels players, including Nathan Hindmarsh (right), in 2006.Credit:Fairfax

This is for the 87 Eels one-gamers. From Pele Peletelese to Paul Whatuira.

It’s for the games Gareth Hock didn’t play. For the games Kieran Foran was meant to play.

For every Parramatta junior that flourished at other clubs. This one’s for you Trent Hodkinson. It’s for you T-Rex.

It’s for Junior Paulo returning from the Raiders. It’s for Josh Papalii never arriving. It’s for Isaiah Papali’i never leaving.

This is for Bert and Burt. Brett Kenny and Luke Burt.

This is for fathers and sons. For the Grothes. For the Arthurs.

Brad Arthur with his grandmother Joy, sister Kelly and father Ted (left) and wearing his Eels gear as a child (inserts).

Brad Arthur with his grandmother Joy, sister Kelly and father Ted (left) and wearing his Eels gear as a child (inserts).

It’s for Seven Hills over Orchard Hills. For Church Street over High Street. For the Parramatta River over the Nepean. For El Jannah over Frango’s.

This one’s for Lebanon. For the Guildford Owls.

For Tim Mannah. For Jon Mannah, watching in heaven. For Chad Robinson, sitting beside him, both gone too young.

This is for the three wooden spoons since the last time the trophy cabinet was opened.

It’s for two grand final losses. For the one Nines tournament they won but had taken off them.

Tim and Jon Mannah in 2011.

Tim and Jon Mannah in 2011.Credit:Fairfax

This one’s for Fiji. For Semi Radradra. It’s for Maika Sivo.

It’s for The Plane. This one’s for you, San Francisco. For the 12 weeks of magic Jarryd Hayne produced in 2009.

For the coaches that lost their job thereafter. This one’s for you Ando.

It’s for Jason Taylor getting the job. For Jason Taylor losing the job a couple days later. This for Brad Arthur.

For the 12 points the NRL took from the club that cost them a spot in the finals.

For the 2016 salary cap scandal and the skeletons they found in the closet.
This is for the brown paper bags.

It’s for forcing out Nathan Peats. For forcing change. It’s for the Office of Liquor and Gaming. For Max Donnelly and Bernie Gurr.

Former Eels chairman Max Donnelly.

Former Eels chairman Max Donnelly.Credit:Anna Kucera

It’s for the emperor Dennis Fitzgerald. It’s for the merry-go-round of CEOs since the end of his reign.

For Scott Seward, Paul Osborne and John Boulous. For Ken Edwards the off-field administrator. For Ken Edwards the on-field intimidator.

This is for the agitator. For Roy Spagnolo. For Steve Sharp. For all the factions that have gone to war. For the Tingha restaurant vouchers used to buy votes.

It’s for stability. This is for Sean McElduff, Jim Sarantinos and Mark O’Neill.

This one’s for the chokers. For 1998. It’s for, in the words of Peter Sterling, leading by a hundred with 10 minutes to go.

It’s for Paul Carige’s moment of madness. For Darryl Halligan’s kick of great sadness.

Brian Smith consoles his Eels players after their loss to Newcastle in the 2001 grand final.

Brian Smith consoles his Eels players after their loss to Newcastle in the 2001 grand final.Credit:Steve Christo

It’s for 2001. Sorry Smithy, this one’s for you. It’s for Newcastle stealing the premiership from Parramatta.

It’s for the NRL not stealing the premiership from Melbourne for Parramatta.

It’s for Manly and Parra. Yes, here we go again.

This is for Jamie Lyon walking out of Parramatta and finding a home in Manly.

For Clint Gutherson walking out of Manly and finding a home in Parramatta.

Anthony Watmough, Kieran Foran and Semi Radradra.

Anthony Watmough, Kieran Foran and Semi Radradra.Credit:Fairfax Media

This is for Anthony Watmough’s insurance payout. For Panthers trainer Pete Green calling time out.

For Michael Jennings getting rubbed out. For Aaron Raper being left out.

This is for Cumberland Oval. For the fans who burnt it to the ground.

This one’s for the old Parramatta Stadium. For the “Parra” chant over the speakers. For the players they chanted in the stands. This one’s for you Fui. It’s for you Mark Tookey.

Cumberland Oval was burnt down by fans following the 1981 premiership.

Cumberland Oval was burnt down by fans following the 1981 premiership.Credit:Fairfax Media

It’s for the faceless heroes of yesteryear. For Aunty Kaye Fitzhenry. For Big D, Dennis Anderson. Yes, Parra’s in the tunnel.

It’s for the forgotten heroes. For Adam Ritson.

It’s for the electric: For Krisnan Inu and Feleti Mateo. This one’s for you Sparky.

For the workhorses. For Daniel Wagon and PJ Marsh. It’s even for the pigs … Salute to you, Mark.

It’s for Timana Tahu slam-dunking the ball over the crossbar.

This is for Peter Wynn Score. It’s for scoring there, because if you don’t score there you’ll never score.

This one’s for the 70-metre training field behind Parramatta Stadium they once called home.

It’s for England. For Chris Thorman and Lee Mossop.

It’s for the Canterbury Eels: For Jimmy Dymock, Dean Pay and Jarrod McCracken. For Daniel Mortimer.

It’s for those that have come from the dark side: Welcome Reagan. This one’s for you too, Waqa.

No fear ... Parramatta prop Reagan Campbell-Gillard.

No fear … Parramatta prop Reagan Campbell-Gillard.

It’s for April 12, 1947: the first Eels game attended. For Brad Arthur’s father Ted being there with his parents.

This is for Ray Stone’s knee. For Tom Opacic’s hamstring.

This one’s for Jesus. The Parramatta one, of course.

This one’s for Moses, the Parramatta one, of course.

It’s for John Monie, the last coach to win a premiership at Parramatta.

Jack Gibson with his famous fur coat.

Jack Gibson with his famous fur coat.Credit:Palani Mohan

This one’s for you, Jack Gibson, the first coach to win a premiership at Parramatta.


For glorifying the Eels. For the three premierships you won.

For the words that are remembered long after your death.

This is for them being spoken once more.

Ding, dong, the witch is dead … again.

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