Parramatta coach Michael Hagan is expecting the prospect of playing for the inaugural Jack Gibson Cup to help inspire his struggling NRL team for their do-or-die clash with the Sydney Roosters on Sunday.
The Eels’ fast-fading finals hopes will go on the line at the Sydney Football Stadium against the high-flying Roosters, with the match now carrying the extra incentive of a trophy launched today in honour of supercoach Jack Gibson.
Parramatta were poor in their 32-12 loss to Newcastle on Monday, and will most likely need to win at least four of their final five games to stand any chance of making the top eight.
“I think it’s a great initiative,” Hagan said of the Jack Gibson Cup.
“We know this is a big game for our club anyway.
“It’s become more important after our performance last week which wasn’t our best performance by any means … but to be able to play for the Jack Gibson Cup puts special significance on the game and I’m sure that will have an affect on our players and the Roosters players as well.”
Gibson, who passed away earlier this year after being named coach of rugby league’s team of the century, guided both the Roosters and Eels to premierships.
Gibson delivered the Roosters back-to-back titles in 1974 and 1975 before masterminding Parramatta’s triumphs in 1981, 82 and 83.
The winner of the trophy will be decided on the combined points tally in regular-season meetings between the clubs each year, with the Roosters already holding a 20-point edge for the inaugural cup after winning 32-12 in round 10.