I wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you to all for the support you have shown in the first five rounds. To get an attendance over 15,000 on Monday night against the Raiders was a tremendous example of the loyalty of our Members, and it is something that hasn’t gone unnoticed by the players themselves and certainly not me.
It has been a tough start to the season and we obviously all had high expectations. Naturally everyone is as disappointed about our results so far – the administration, coaching staff and the players – as you, our very valuable Members, would be, but I can assure you everyone is working hard to ensure the team starts climbing the ladder soon.
Despite some press last week that we would have preferred not to have had, I can assure you the spirit and camaraderie of the side remains excellent and the players, as a close unit, are determined to get the results they aspire to very shortly.
While results have not come during this period, our three longest serving players have celebrated significant milestones:
Luke Burt’s 200th first grade game in round 2 against Manly. A wonderful achievement for Luke and he’s zeroing in on Brett Kenny’s all-time try-scoring record.
Nathan Cayless’ 200th game as first grade captain in round 4 against Cronulla. It’s amazing enough to get 200 games but to captain one club for that many is a remarkable achievement. Nathan hangs up his boots at the end of the year and he’s been a wonderful leader who we can all be proud of.
Nathan Hindmarsh equaling the club record for first grade appearances (265) against the Raiders on Monday night and breaking it this weekend against the Rabbits. What can I say about this bloke? A true Champion and someone who makes me so proud to be a part of this Club. I hope all our Members get out to ANZ on Sun day and cheer him on. I’d love to see the type of dedication and emotion from our fans that Hazem El Masri had during his farewell appearance at the same venue last year.
Hindy is four-times the Provan-Summons Medal winner as the NRL’s most popular player, as voted by the fans. He has won the Eels first grade players’ player award a record seven times and last year was recognised by the NRL by being awarded the Ken Stephen Medal for his community work, as well as winning the Pirtek Parramatta Eels’ clubman of the year award. And now he adds the appearance record to his list of achievements which show what an extraordinary team man he is.
The boys need your support this Sunday and Nathan Hindmarsh deserves your support. Please try to rustle up every Eels supporter you know and ask them to come along and make it a memorable day for Nathan and his family.
Off the field we have been extremely successful. We have broken through the 10,000 members barrier, we will announce two new shorts sponsors over the next week, our corporate income has reached record levels and our new merchandise is selling extremely well. So there is a lot to be positive about.
You may have read varying viewpoints in the media about player re-signings, negotiations on hold, this player leaving and this player staying. Let me reassure you that regardless of what is written or said, we are extremely hopeful of retaining the players all of us want, who will wear the blue and gold jersey for many years to come. My determination to achieve this hasn’t abated whatsoever.
In closing can I remind everyone that last season we had two wins from the first seven rounds but gained enough confidence and form to make it to the grand final, so there are plenty of competition rounds and fight left in the Pirtek Eels yet.
Thanks again for showing the team your support and I look forward to seeing you on Sunday.