The Cumberland Throw

The Spotlight: Rekindling The Eels Supporter Flames

This has been a challenging week.

I’m naturally a glass half full supporter and take pride in focussing on the positive in and around the Parramatta Eels, so being critical of the club that I am passionate about didn’t come easy.

Eels staff, executives, directors, volunteers, the football department staff and players are incredibly dedicated and go above and beyond in their desire and commitment for success for the Parramatta Eels.

I can say with great conviction that the Parramatta Eels is a family club. That means people are important. So it hasn’t sat well with me that in being critical of this season, I’m publicly stating that my family has got something wrong.

That family might feel that I jumped the gun with my criticism. Firstly the season isn’t over. Secondly, Eels management don’t shy away from being self-critical and a review of any aspect of their operation that hasn’t achieved what was expected would always be planned to take place.

The response to the first two posts in what is a series has been beyond expectations, but that hasn’t made me any less challenged about my decision.

From the moment the post appeared on TCT, my phone went into meltdown. On TCT itself, there was a surge of fans wanting to have their say. Many agreed. Others suggested that I was not basing the article on facts and inferred other motives. I’ve tried to respond to as many replies as I could but I had to draw a line.

To anybody that looked for more from me in that regard I apologise. It simply required the time that I don’t possess.

Furthermore, there are upcoming parts to the series so I hope that readers will see a more complete picture.

Before this week I had declared to some of those close to me that the thought of taking a step back from TCT for a while had been crossing my mind. Reverting to being a person in the stands and nothing more seemed very attractive.

Up until yesterday, that thought was becoming more entrenched.

Then I attended the Blue and Gold Alliance Eels reunion yesterday at Parra Leagues and felt blessed to be a Parra supporter and privileged for The Cumberland Throw to be a part of the Blue and Gold family.

Look for people wearing this BGA gear today

The Eels football club paid for the reunion event. Parramatta Leagues Club, the venue for the luncheon, sponsor the Blue and Gold Alliance and their events which bring former graded players and officials together.

I had the privilege of attending a BGA committee meeting in the lead up to the reunion. I witnessed their passion and commitment to grow the reach of their not-for-profit organisation. Their goal of assisting and connecting all former Eels players and staff is a monumental task. The 2024 “Back to Parramatta Day” will feature prominently on next year’s calendar.


Yesterday’s luncheon came just when I needed it. My supporter flames were reignited as I watched how much these people enjoyed each other’s company, and what brought them all together was their common experience of being a Parramatta Eel.

There were some in the room who never played first grade. In fact, this year’s reunion featured a dedication to the 35 year anniversary of the 1988 Presidents Cup title win, with footage playing on the big screen throughout the day.

Bill Richards interviews David Danes & Rod Collins from the 1988 Presidents Cup Team

The level played didn’t matter. The path to Parra, be it from the juniors, from other clubs or other regions, is never a factor for the BGA. They were all part of the family and all shared a common bond.

Reunion festivities continue today when the BGA gathers for brunch at the club and then takes their lap of honour before the Eels and Dragons clash at CommBank Stadium.

Make sure you’re there in the Stadium to get behind the Eels NRLW and NRL teams. They need your support in what are critical matches.

You also have the opportunity to cheer for the past players as they take their position on the field prior to the NRL game. And if you see anyone in their special BGA gear, stop them and say g’day. It will be greatly appreciated by them.

As for me, I’ll be cheering loudly in the stands in full supporter mode. You can then catch Forty and I in Jacks Bar and Grill after full time for our Instant Reaction podcast.

And the Blue and Gold Alliance will be a big reason for the smile on my face.

Eels forever!


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10 thoughts on “The Spotlight: Rekindling The Eels Supporter Flames

  1. Colin Hussey

    One could say Sixties that the aura can more than often fail when the Northern lights are not seen, but — the also return with low lights in the distance far away enough not to be noticed when not looking in the right direction/spotlights.

    While I will always support the eels whilst ever I have breath, its not always pleasant but sticking fast will also help the view and make the right calls, both pleasant and not.

  2. Dave

    Great article sixties
    Next year I will be celebrating 50 years of being part of the EELS family . While I have seen a lot of success following them have also seen some very lean times but will bleed blue and gold till the day I die. Being in the supporters group can be very frustrating and to have to read some of the vile things said on there by so called supporters is heartbreaking. I know they want to see their team win a premiership but only one team can do it a year and unfortunately we haven’t been it for a long time but I still have the passion for the club and believe we will be back up top again. Look at the fact that Panthers are going for a threepeat for the first time since eels did it in the 80s says volumes about the eels.
    Love my blue and gold family and will for ever just like my blood family

    1. sixties Post author

      Thanks for having that passion for the Blue and Gold Dave and for taking the time to reply.

  3. Namrebo


    I for one hope you continue to run and contribute to this site the way you have. I mentioned in a previous post on TCT that I’m a recent contributor, but I have been reading it for quite some time. I enjoy your posts, both critical and favourable to the Eels. I don’t always agree with what you write but it always makes me think about the club I’ve followed since 1976 (and converted my old man from being a bunnies supporter) and what it’s doing right or could do better.

    You should never feel bad about pointing out things that you think could be done better. Sometimes people can’t see things until someone close shows them, or they need reassurance that others can see the same thing.

    As you said there are always internal reviews going on and one thing these should do is listen to outside voices so that it is not just an inward looking thought self affirmation. The voices may not be listened to or influence decisions in the end but at least the decision makers are fully informed.

    I appreciate the time and effort you and others put in to make TCT what it is and I look forward to reading many more of your thought provoking pieces.


    1. sixties Post author

      Thank you for getting involved with TCT Namrebo, for taking the time to reply and for the kind words. By the way, what an amazing achievement to get your father away from supporting the Bunnies!
      What you said about outside voices is very relevant and the Eels do pay attention in that regard. If they didn’t I’d regard writing any critical posts as a waste of time.
      think we all go through tough periods as a supporter, and there are times when that makes it tougher to be involved with a supporter site. But it is more than balanced out by the people that I’ve been able to meet and get to know over the years. And being able to assist the BGA has been one of the most rewarding experiences that I’ve been involved with. The committee are so passionate about what they do, and give up so much of their time to help keep Eels people connected. Watching the enjoyment created by the reunion this weekend was just what I needed.

  4. Sec50

    There is nothing wrong with being critical. It does not exclude one from being a passionate supporter. I always look forward to reading the articles on this site and often comment on them. I have not read anything negative from you but merely a cogent critique of all things Parra which is the right of any fan. Indeed sometimes you defend what I see as indefensible and you go out of your way to be ultra positive. Too many fans are a little over precious and decry those who make respectful opinions.
    Go the mighty Eels

    1. sixties Post author

      Cheers Sec. And we truly appreciate the time that you take to add your opinion to the topics discussed and reports we post. Voices like yours are needed as both validation for the role of TCT as well as providing alternative perspectives for us.

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