The Cumberland Throw

Parra Through and Through – The Arthur Family at Parramatta

It’s well known that Parramatta coach, Brad Arthur is passionate about the Eels. His resilience and stoic support of the club during this tumultuous year is becoming the stuff of legend.

However, in saying farewell to Parramatta Stadium, there’s a piece of the Arthur family history that many may not be aware of.

I’m proud to be able to share it with you.

Cumberland Oval – April 12, 1947

A packed Cumberland on match day.

Parramatta played its first match at Cumberland in their first year in the premiership. As they take on the Newtown Bluebags, a crowd of 6000 is in attendance as the home town heroes go down 34 to 12.

In that crowd, at that first match, were 3 generations of the Arthur family. Brad’s father, Ted, was only a young baby. He was taken to the match by his parents, Lindsay and Joyce. Along with the young family was Brad’s great grandfather, Noel.

A family’s association with the Eels begins from day 1.

Parramatta Stadium – March 16, 1986

Opening day at Parramatta Stadium.

After spending four years at Belmore Oval, the Eels played their first Premiership match at the new Parramatta Stadium. What an event it was. Over 26000 people turned up to watch the Eels trounce the Dragons by 36 to 6.

Joining the crowd again were 3 generations of the Arthur family. A young Brad was there with his father Ted and his grandmother Joyce.

So passionate were they about the Eels, so strong had the bond with the club grown, that Joyce held executive positions on the supporters club committee whilst Ted was involved as an assistant coach and selector for Eels junior representative teams.

If Joyce had seen her grandson become coach of the Eels, how proud she would have been.


Pirtek (Parramatta) Stadium – August 29, 2016

The Eels will be saying goodbye to Pirtek Stadium in an emotional evening against the Dragons.

Jake, Brad & Matthew with the Nines Trophy.

Ted Arthur will again be there. Along with his wife Carol, he’ll be watching his son, Brad, coach their beloved Eels. Brad’s wife Michelle and daughter Charlotte will also be there, proudly watching Matthew and Jake fulfil their ballboy duties.

History links the Arthur family with the Parramatta Eels.

Three generations of the coach’s family have been on hand for three milestone events in the club’s history. It’s an association that spans the 70 years of Parramatta’s existence.

You can’t get more blue and gold than that!


Eels forever,



Notify of
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Colin Hussey

60’s nice post. 1947, my birth year, so a bit young to remember it, Although the high shot of Cumberland is one that I can remember (from the ground though) the old oval at the back where much daylight trainings took place, no leagues club near the top, nor the swimming pool. likewise the dirt track around the outside. Fond memories indeed. Sometimes I ponder those old days, with my late parents siting on the broken & splintered seats, with an atmosphere that had to be experienced to believe & soak up, especially when we were winning & gates were… Read more »


Superb research mate. Now that is something special….I hope the media can get hold of this and use your piece for that. Nice story mate. Well done. My old man was there in 86. 1947 my old man wasn’t in the country yet…..but he will be there again on Monday, with his sons and grandson, and my lady.


That is so special, I wonder why no media outlet has come up with it. I think you are wasting your talents 60’s, you need to be working in the media. Cumberland oval was special to me and my late husband as it was where all our first courting was done. We were there at the 1st game at Parra Stadium with our sons proudly watching the game and our daughter as she was a Cheer leader in those days.

Michael Formosa

Great read Sixiesboy! I love this site just wish there was a little more content. I love how there’s no dickheads here! Just good people who love the blue and gold.


Great article sixties. I remember watching Arthur when he was an undersized lock captaining the Eels Presidents Cup side back in the mid 90s.

John Eel

Seems like he has taken that same attitude into coaching. One memory I have of the old Cumberland Oval was going under the old wooden stand to buy a pie. Counting my change, I almost walked head on into Arthur Beetson. He was out with a broken jaw at the time and I barely recognised him. He had lost a lot of weight and was so much taller than I had imagined.

Another great read Sixties.

John Eel

When Artie had the broken jaw he was with the Eels. Which one was with the Eels the day you are talking about.

Also I remeber a very young, possibly schoolboy Peter Sterling who used to follow Beetson around the park looking for the pushed pass out the back that Artie was so good at. Sterlo would follow him like a seagull chasing a chip on the beach, backing up his good work.

John Eel

There was a time when the Bear was at Penrith but I think that Artie had well and truly retired by then.

John Eel

Thanks for that I was not sure that they were both there at the Eels at the same time. Was it the Bear who asked the question during the GF celebration, “Who is the best prop in the world and why am I”.

Colin Hussey

I would endorse what you said about the bear, I knew him in his playing days, & went to school with his wife, lovely lady as well.

Colin Hussey

Its been a long while since I saw her, we both went to Northmead HIgh, & that dates to 59 -62 when I left school mid year to start work. I used to go to the eels training nights during before Norm Provan’s coaching era & up until we left Sydney to head down the South Coast, Along with my late dad we were invited up to the pub for a beer afterwards & where I got to meet the bear,along with others, most of the payers who went were pretty good, although Pittard was a bit aloof at times,… Read more »

John Eel

Just reading this story again this is tradition, this is special. This is something that the AFL do very well, the NRL not so much. I do not think that there is much that the NRL can learn off the AFL but how to embrace tradition is one thing that the NRL could go to school on. Things such as celebrating milestones they do very well. Hell they even call a press conference for the opening of a letter.

Colin Hussey

Mate I went there the first year it opened, 1959, from old Northmead Primary. Many talk of Dick Thornetts field goal from the half way. I remember when boof kicked a goal from inside our own half that gave us a win, forget who it was against now but it never looked like missing & certainly never just got over the cross bar either. I think it would have been a goal from 10 back in the half.

Colin Hussey

Mate I lived in Howard Ave, had to walk most days to school, except in the first 2 years, those days no free PT for kids, had a choice on Mondays to buy lunch or catch bus, as I got money then.


Colin, I remember Dick Thornett kicking a field goal, not sure if same one. We had a winger from PNG or Fiji who supposedly could kick goals but was hopeless. After missing a few goals we received a penalty about 40m out and 10-15m from the sideline. Dick snatched the ball from the winger and kicked the field goal to rapturous applause and much stamping on the wooden seats.
Also remember game against Tigers, we scored 3 trys to nil but was beaten 12-11 (trys 3 points those days) with Keith Barnes kicking 6 goals.

Colin Hussey

While DK has another thread regarding Pirtek, I just had a thought in regard to Sundays match, I haven’t at this point of time seen a lot about the day, although the eels web site does have a bit of a program between matches & the like.

What I thought would have been good, or dare I suggest great would be for both the eels & dragons teams that played the first game at Pirtek to have been invited to the game & provide a guard of honour to the two teams playing on Monday night.


I bet when the young Arthur was watching Parramatta he may have thought but not believed that one day he would coach them.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x