The Parramatta Eels are a Rugby League Football team that was founded in 1947. They played their first game on April 12 of that very same year at Cumberland Oval, which is now Parramatta Stadium.
It took the Eels 15 years to even make it to the finals and then another 13 years to make it to a grand final. They made their first grade grand final debut against Manly in 1976, unfortunately losing 13-10 then being beaten by St George the following year in the first ever Grand Final replay.
It took a few more years before Parramatta showed any sign of being competitive in the competition. In 1981, with the recruitment of a few key players, Jack Gibson was hired as coach. This started the glory days for the Parramatta Eels, winning grand finals in 1981, 1982, 1983 and 1986. Jack Gibson was coach for their first three Grand Final wins and John Monie coached them in their 1984 Grand Final loss to the Bulldogs and then their win, against the Bulldogs, in 1986.
In the years since the 1986 Grand Final win they have been close but never reaching that pinnacle of Rugby League the all elusive title of Grand Final Premiers. In recent years there have been many changes, many coaches and many players but nothing has seemed to work.
2011 saw the appointment of Stephen Kearney as the coach of the Eels but the hard times continued, the Eels finishing 14th out of 16 teams. The 2012 season was heralded as the Parramatta Eels year, they had signed well in the off season, and instead of inheriting a team from his predecessor Coach Kearney had picked the players himself. So he had the team that he wanted, did it help? No at this moment in time the Eels sit at the bottom of the table with only two wins out of 14 games played.
Now the Coach, who was heralded as the Eels savior, is forced to confirm or deny rumors. There has been speculation and rumors running wild, that the team needs to perform or Stephen Kearney, and several players, are out. When asked about this he has stated
“For me, the speculation and innuendo over the last probably 10 weeks – the amount of it – if I worried myself about it at all then I wouldn’t be doing my job,” he told Triple M
This has also filtered down to the players who have found themselves defending their coach and showing a united front. Past and present players have come out in support of the coach. Jarryd Hayne, the Eels fullback and star player was quoted as saying
When you start losing games and the amount of pressure that we’ve had on us, there’s going to be rumours starting.
“There’s been all sorts of rumours about me and about other players and whatnot.
What happens for the rest of the season remains to be seen but one thing is clear if the Parramatta Eels do not start winning games they will finish the season last and that would be a shame to farewell their retiring Captain Nathan Hindmarsh, a veteran of 300+ first grade games, with the wooden spoon.