Go TCT, it’s your birthday….
Hard to believe, but today is indeed our 5th birthday.
On December 24, 2015, The Cumberland Throw was launched. Though we knew the website would offer a point of difference, there was obviously a nervous excitement on that day as we officially announced our birth to the rugby league world and the Eels community.
The site content was in place. We’d been writing posts and filming interviews with both Peter Wynn and Bob O’Reilly during the previous two months which meant that we had a grand total of five posts and all four parts of Wally’s interview ready to go on that first day.
Five years down the track, and nearly two million site visits later, we have remained true to our original commitment to create a website which was unapologetically passionate about the Parramatta Eels, whilst retaining authenticity through valid criticism.
There’s never been any intent to compete with Eels forums or Facebook sites, despite rumours to the contrary. TCT is more akin to an online magazine with its established authors and regular features.
Looking back, it’s been quite a ride.
There couldn’t have been a more challenging season for us to cover in our first year. The salary cap breaches of 2016, an administration in chaos, and the disappointment of missing out on finals football due to the Premiership points penalty all tested the will of most Eels supporters.
The upside that year was a team that battled against injuries, the loss of players, and the incessant media attacks. Brad Arthur announced himself as the man to lead the club to better times as he stood tall against the media, energised his battered team on a weekly basis, and declared himself Parra to the core.
Bernie Gurr’s arrival in 2017 was an inspired appointment for the Eels. Under his administration, the off field fortunes of the Eels began to turn. After being the bad boys of the NRL salary cap, Parramatta became the benchmark operation.
Crucially, the new Eels CEO reaffirmed that the Eels would commit to being a development club. And Bernie himself walked the walk. From junior rep matches at Cabramatta, lower grades at Ringrose Park, to the big stadiums of the NRL, he’d be there.
The 2018 season was, as it transpired, a horrible anomaly. But there was no escaping the substandard performances in a number of games. Still, the Eels demonstrated the newfound strength and professionalism of its administration by conducting a thorough independent review of its football operation.
Vindication of the review was found with the 5th placed finish in 2019. And what a season of highlights we witnessed at the magnificent Bankwest Stadium, bookended by the spectacular opening match against the Tigers and the record-breaking finals win over the Broncos.
Finally, in the year just gone, it was a 3rd place regular rounds finish in a strange COVID world. The disappointment of bowing out in consecutive losses cannot be allowed to overshadow the direction that the Eels are heading.
Typically, we approach 2021 with the excitement of most new seasons, but there is a strong basis to the optimism. Should this Eels roster remain healthy, it has the capacity to replicate its top four finish of 2020. Furthermore, corporate partnerships are flourishing, the development of Kellyville HQ is progressing and the team plays out of the best football stadium in Australia. Bring it on.
There you have the quickest of historical recaps in the young life of TCT. What are your highlights from the last five years, or your hopes for the season ahead?
For now, on behalf of everyone at The Cumberland Throw, I extend our thanks to you, our readers, for your continued support. Your visits, replies, and opinions contribute to the quality of TCT content.
A special mention must be made about our loyal sponsors Starr Partners – Auburn and Narellan, and Easily Green Energy Solutions. These organisations love the Eels and we are proud to say that they stand in partnership with the Cumberland Throw.
To everyone, we wish you and your families a safe and Merry Christmas, and of course a Parra Premiership for the New Year.