The Cumberland Throw

Team List Tuesday – Parra Stalwarts


The reboot of the 2020 Premiership on May 28 means that this week’s team list will be the last of the special editions.

Not that it hasn’t been enjoyable coming up with the themes.

However, the business of every season is about winning games of football. And given that it’s back to business in a big way next week, the team lists from here on in will be the 2020 Parramatta Eels.

But there is still this week – so how did we decide to finish the themes?

It’s Blue and Gold forever baby!

This is the top 17 longest serving Eels.

Each player made the list by virtue of the number of first grade games played. A spot in the team was then found for them – it was as simple as that.

Should I have selected the longest serving player for each position? Perhaps.

Nonetheless, at a time when many rugby league supporters have remained loyal to their club by maintaining their memberships, it seems only fitting to honour our club stalwarts.


Fullback Jarryd Hayne

Hayne in full flight

2006 – 2014, 2018.

191 games

The freak!

The  champ.

The Hayne Plane.

The most talented player I’ve ever seen in Blue and Gold.


Wing Daniel Wagon

Wags pulls through the tackle

1999 – 2008

204 games

We called him Superglue because he liked to latch onto that ball and hit it up.

He came to the Eels as a winger.

He finished as a reliable Mr Fixit.




Centre Mick Cronin

The legendary Mick Cronin

1977 – 1986

216 games

1971 points

Imagine travelling from Geringong to Parramatta to train and play for ten seasons!

Champion bloke.

Champion player.

Helped nurture those around him to become champions too.


Centre Mark Laurie

Pebbles takes on the defence

1982 – 1992

205 games

Pebbles – the younger brother of Rocky Laurie.

Alongside Paul Taylor, Laurie was one of Parra’s best utility players with the ability to cover backline and forward roles.

His selection at centre is on the basis of 25 senior games in that position.



Wing Luke Burt

Few had the loyalty of Luke Burt.

1999 – 2012

264 games

1793 points

When Brian Smith rushed Luke Burt into first grade I was dumbfounded. He seemed so lightly framed and inexperienced.

Burt proved me wrong and played 24 games that year.

The Eels tried to release him a couple of times. He wouldn’t leave.

He was one of Parra’s best in that amazing 2009 season.


Five-Eighth Brett Kenny

The natural – Brett Kenny

1980 – 1993

264 games

Poetry in motion.

A player who deserves immortal status.

Two tries in three consecutive grand finals.

Bettered Wally Lewis when he faced him at five-eighth in Origin with 8 wins, four losses.


Halfback Peter Sterling

Sterlo – few compare

1978 – 1992

227 games

Another who deserves immortal status.

The Eels have searched for 30 years for someone to own the halfback jersey the way Sterlo did.

Comparisons with this bloke aren’t fair to anyone.

Arguably one of the smartest players to ever grace the footy field.




Prop Nathan Cayless

Leadership bestowed at a young age.

1997 – 2010

259 games

Captained Parra while still only 21!

A star local junior who also went on to captain the New Zealand Kiwis to a World Cup win.

Two grand final appearances.

And what about that field goal vs Newcastle in 2008!




Hooker Billy Rayner

Earned an Aussie jersey from the spoon team.

1956 -1966

195 games

Here’s a stalwart from some of Parra’s leanest years!

Across the six seasons from 1956 to 1961 the Eels only won 16 games in total. Naturally they collected the spoon in each year.

Incredibly, Billy was selected for Australia in 1960. Parra won two games that year!

He finished his career in better times with the Eels featuring in finals footy from 1962 to 1965.


Prop Bob O’Reilly

The Bear – Parra’s first locally bred Kangaroo

1967 – 1975, 1980 – 1982

216 games

You had to be a special player, and tough, to play in the front row in the 1960s. To do so at only 18 was next level tough.

The Bear was Parra’s first player to come through the local juniors into first grade and  then play for Australia.

It was only appropriate that Bob returned to Parra to be a part of the club’s first title.




Second Row Nathan Hindmarsh


1998 – 2012

330 games

The most capped Eel of all time.

Two grand final appearances should have resulted in at least one Premiership.

Hindy had an amazing motor and the ability to bob up when needed, especially in defence.

Genuine warhorse player.


Second Row Ron Lynch

Thirst Lynch

1961 -1971

194 games

Parra had one of the most feared packs during the 1960s and Thirsty Lynch was a huge part of it.

He gained Australian selection during his first year at Parra, the wooden spoon year of 1961, but he would go on to earn 12 Green and Gold jerseys.

Penrith wooed him to the foot of the mountains to captain them for the last two years of his career.




Lock Ray Price

One of a kind

1976 – 1986

258 games





End of discussion.



Bench  Fuifui Moimoi


2004 – 2014

201 games

I was one of the thousands to say “who?” when Brian Smith signed Fui.

I was one of the thousands to call “Fuuuuiiiii!” every time he charged onto the ball.

His 2009 Grand Final try was something special.





Bench Tim Mannah

Tim busts the line & looks to offload

2009 – 2019

233 games

Parramatta junior, team captain, NSW Origin player, club ambassador, community worker.

Tim should feel proud of his accomplishments.

Eels supporters should be proud that he pulled on the Blue and Gold.



Bench John McMartin

John McMartin (Photo Getty Images).

1966 – 1975

167 games

A genuine ball winner in the era of competitive scrums and demonstrably one of the fastest forwards of his generation.

He earned a NSW jersey but should have played for Australia.





Bench Steve Sharp

Sharp crosses for a try.

1979 – 1990

164 games

Sharpie was one of the most underrated Eels forwards during the  golden era. Check out his role in Atkins try in the 1981 grand final.

The mobile forward made 73 top grade appearances over the 1981-1983 seasons – an average of better than 24 games per season. Jack Gibson didn’t select mugs.



Anybody who pulls on a first grade jersey is part of an elite group of players. Only just over 800 players have done so for the Eels, so to play such a massive number of games in the Blue and Gold jersey is something each of these players and their families can be justifiably proud of.


A few of these blokes spent brief periods at other clubs. Should I have restricted qualification to one club players? Perhaps that something that readers could debate.


When all is said and done, these footballers have played the most games for the mighty Eels. Twelve on this list notched up over 200 matches for our club.


That is definitely worthy of acknowledgement.


Eels forever!





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Colin Hussey

Hard to disagree with that side sixties but, equally hard to not see the zip zip man in it either


Was that the case with Peter Winn who had to have played more games than Steve Sharp I would have thought?


Love it!
Sterling, Kenny and Cronin. Champions beyond belief and then there was Ray Price. Totally agree 60s. Well said.


Well done Sixties – very good read. I also would have loved to have seen Paul Taylor in there but from memory he played about 150-160 games. Ticker to burn and superb defender.
When we read about Thirsty and Bear it makes you realise how tough they were and Billy Rayner, what an amazing feat making the Australian team from wooden spooners.


Yeah everyone loves a brown paper bag

Colin Hussey

When Walsh was the coach, & IIRC it was before Bob left the eels, he was appointed captain, & I believe that he was too young for that role at the time. There was a photo showing Walsh escorting Bob off the field during a game in which we lost again IIRC, one could readily see the hurt on Bob’s face, along with Walsh trying to console him. I’m pretty sure the pic was front page in the Rugby League Week newspaper. Certainly when he returned to the eels he was a much better and stronger player, and for me… Read more »


Penrith offered him stupid money he couldn’t refuse

Achilles' Eel

It’s a strong forward pack and an excellent spine. Enjoy the virtual memories of the ball going through the hands: Sterling, Kenny, Cronin, Hayne…


Sixties, a hypothetical question. Would Big Jack in your view have coped with Hayne?

Achilles' Eel

I think that Big Jack would have marvelled at Hayne’s brilliance, while Hayne would have cherished Big Jack’s wisdom. How would I know (Whitney Houston almost sang), so why not look on it through rose-coloured glasses? Monty Python implored that one should always look on the bright side of life.


Achilles he may have looked at it like that, and no doubt his brilliance would have stood out. Sterling / Kenny also had that brilliance.


Agreed on that one. I also think the current crop have plenty of training in these areas and many should realise they could stay off it….B Smith – superb.


Yes it is an interesting one, and i am 50/50 either way.

Achilles' Eel

I just don’t know, Milo. The past is a foreign country. The current situation with Covid-19 should teach us how easily our circumstances can change.

jack herd

Has anyone noticed the Mitch Moses has not trained in any contact sessions since the resumption of training. Do we know if there is any issue with him? Injuries etc.

jack herd

Just based on pictures released from contact sessions. Have not seen him once running with the team. Pics of him with joggers on standing next to BA during contact sessions ie.

jack herd

Fair enough mate – hope we are right 🙂


Steve Sharp was actually the player who made the most first grade appearances in the Jack Gibson era


Stop it, Geoff. You genuinely humble “Parra knowall” It’s been an entertaining bunch of recent years and a real blessing getting to know you mate. Please keep it up.


Great Team List Tuesday Sixties, and wonderfully appropriate as we look forward to this current team emulating some of those most outstanding performances which you have documented above. As I read your personal thoughts about each of the selected members in Parra Stalwarts. It was difficult to argue with any of them. It was also hard to not to feel the emotion you generated in your selections and the very often mutual admiration which I had for the same players and the joy they gave me to be a Parra fan. Win, lose or draw. In fact I miss the… Read more »


Agreed about Golden Point Rowdy; my view is simple, they have had 80 mins to win the game.

The dead man

good old Daniel wagon. what a great all round solid player. awesome defender n could play many position. centre, wing, 5/8, lock, second row. was my favorite player i even thought he was better then nathan hindmarsh. mind you i thought ian hindmasrh was better then nathan hindmarsh.

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