The Cumberland Throw

Step Back in Time – Parramatta vs Canberra, 1987

As we prepare to take the long trip down to the nation’s capital this weekend to take on the Canberra Raiders, I thought I’d take us on a trip down memory lane to another time, to another clash against The Green Machine …..

Season 1987.

Parramatta are the defending premiers.

However season 1987 isn’t going to script.

Round 9. Sunday, April 26 1987, the Canberra Raiders have traveled up to Parramatta Stadium with a hearty group of supporters who would soon find themselves in fine song.

After the first 40 minutes Canberra head to the half time sheds with a healthy lead of 22 points to nil against a Parramatta outfit that seemed to have no answers to the Raiders attack.

With tries to Meninga, Corkery, Henjack and Jackson, the Raiders appeared to be heading for a record score against the 1986 premiers. From the stands, some of the more vocal Raiders fans started chanting “we want fifty, we want fifty” (some of us there on the day thought the Canberra fans were chanting “we want Fitzy” … until we listened more closely.)

But then something changed at half time.

Was it a rev up from the coach John Monie? Was it words of inspiration from the captain, Peter Sterling?  Did the team mistake Don Price for his brother Ray and think they’d better start playing and not get Raymond upset?

Whatever the reason, the Eels came out with more purpose, more drive, more determination and showed the 14,000 faithful in attendance what pride in the team colours meant.

New recruit Bob Lindner, the Queensland lock and Australian representative, not to mention the chosen replacement for Ray Price, was about to play one of his best games in the Blue and Gold. Peter Sterling later described Lindner’s second half performance as the difference between the teams and just simply inspirational.

Lindner first try was greeted with some mirth by the visiting Raiders fans. This author remembered them joking in the Cronin stand, “yeah, we’ll let them have one try” as they resumed their chant – “we want fifty, we want fifty”.

But as the tries continued to flow from the Blue and Golds, the Canberra contingent grew silent. Lindner crossed again, then tries to Don Price, Neil Hunt and finally from Penrith recruit, Ken Wolfe. The Eels finished the rout of the Green machine with John Muggleton kicking five goals. It would go down as one of the greatest comebacks in Parramatta history …

Let’s hope we come away we can mirror that result with a win from our clash with the Green Machine this weekend.

It’s good to be an Eel!

Yours in nostaglia,

DK Eel

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11 thoughts on “Step Back in Time – Parramatta vs Canberra, 1987

  1. Mitchy

    DK, superb memories mate. I was 17, and in someway I still am 17 at times. Recalled that as we were at home listening to the other weekend games, and they’d have three or four around the grounds reporters, think with 2UE. My brother and I were jumping for joy at the end. Suffice to say we both agreed it was Lindners best and only best game for us. I’m sure the team was booed by some at half time….great memories.
    Do you also recall in 83/ or 84, when Canberra beat us at Seiffert..? Huge upset back then…

    1. DK Eel Post author

      Hi mate,

      I was a 17 year old in the Thornett stand that day (hence some of the calls from the Canberra fans I can recall clearly from being there!).

      I can say that the boos from my section were directed at the bloke with the whistle in that first half. There were a few calls we didn’t agree with and a lot of us in the Cronin stand were venting at the ref ….. I know the reports took it otherwise .

      It was an incredible second half of footy that day.

      The Canberra fans chanting “we want 50” …. well, we got to see 50 points scored. 52 points to be precise. Parra just happened to score 30 of those points!

        1. DK Eel Post author

          I also recall a few years later, Parra playing Canberra, and I believe it may have been one of the first games that Lyon and Vaealiki were paired up in the centres.

          I remember asking Sixties that day about this new pairing (as i hadn’t been to a lot of games that year … it happens, we all stray from the true path of blue and gold at times, as long as we return to the faith!).

          His words – “Brian Smith is about to unleash the attacking brilliance of Lyon and Vaealiki upon an unsuspecting Raiders”

          and he as right!

          We thumped the Raiders that day!

    2. parrathruandthru

      83 Mitchy. It was the last time I went to Canberra to watch the Eels but will be making the trek tomorrow
      Mares was sent off for using his knees while running the ball up.
      The year before the ZIP ZIP man kicked 8/9 from all over the park. Pretty sure Cronin was rested for rep duty

    1. DK Eel Post author

      so I wonder if at the end of the video and we see Ken Wolffe scoring, is Louis Takairangi the player in headgear congratulating Ken after the try?

  2. Gazzamatta

    I was there in our usual seats in the Thornett Stand with my dear old Dad. I recall some crowd members actually booing our team as they entered the sheds at half time. Yes Bob Lindner was amazing. Definitely the best game he ever played in the Blue and Gold. Supporters joked that he must have put his Queensland jersey on under his Parra jersey at half time. Great memories.

  3. Manginina

    Was there that day in the Thornett Stand. Also vividly remember some Canberra fans really giving it to Eels fans during 1st half, some Eels fans in the Stand booing team off at 1/2 time, and the amazing turnaround and wild cheering as Eels stormed home. Add to that the stunned silence of Canberra fans as some Eels gave it back to them at end of game. No so good memories of travelling to Canberra to see Eels getting smashed. We really owe them one in the ACT. Go the mighty Eels!

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