In what is a boost for the Parramatta Eels, the Northern Territory Government, fans and civilians from both areas and the NRL, the Eels have today announced a new, key partnership with the Northern Territory Government, one that will see them play a trial and an NRL match every year for the next four years in two different cities in the Northern Territory.
2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 will see the Eels play a trial game in Alice Springs and an NRL game at Tio Stadium in Darwin, with the visits not only about playing NRL, but about community engagement and participation, healthy lifestyles and reversing anti-social behaviour.
With the move a great boost for the Eels, the NRL and the Northern Territory Government moving forward, Eels Interim CEO Matt Phelan says engagement between all parties is the key to a successful relationship between them and the NT Government.
â€œThis will not be a fly in fly out scenario, we will be involved all year long in Community programs, Rugby League and Touch Football participation as well as the development of existing elite player and coaching pathways,” said Phelan.
â€œWe are committed to providing both resources and knowledge to grow the game in the Northern Territory.â€
With the Eels fan base regarded as one of the biggest in the Sydney region, Parramatta Eels Chairman Steve Sharp says the new partnership is a massive positive for both the club and the game.
â€œTo be able to use our club for the greater good of the game – but also to make a real difference in the lives of people less fortunate – is a huge privilege,” said Sharp.
Rest assured Eels fans, this new partnership will not see any games taken away from the spiritual home of Parramatta Stadium, with Sharp re-affirming the club’s commitment to having 8 home games in Parramatta for the next 3 years, at least.
â€œIt will not mean taking a game away from Parramatta Stadium, as we are committed to playing a minimum of 8 games there each season for the next 3 years. Instead, this is about assuming our responsibility to promote Rugby League and to help the community,” said Sharp.
Equally pleased with the partnership and the benefits it will have in getting more and more Online Casino families to games and more people involved with rugby league is the Northern Territory Minister for Sport, the Hon. Matt Conlan.
For Mr Conlan, he believes the new partnership will mean that the Northern Territory population will have an NRL team that they can call their own – the Eels.
â€œThis is a great day for the sport of rugby league and the Territory,â€ Mr Conlan said.
â€œTodayâ€™s announcement is the first time the Northern Territory has partnered with an NRL club to deliver a long-term future of premiership NRL games in the NT.
â€œWhile these games are important to the Territory, this agreement goes much further than just NRL games and will also deliver significant benefits to our community over the next four seasons, all year long.â€
It does not stop there, however, with the club to be involved in initiatives that are designed to cater the needs of the Northern Territory people, including numeracy and literacy, as well as “Closing The Gap” between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Australians.
The Hon. Linda Burney, the Chair of the Rugby League Indigenous Council is in full support of the partnership.
â€œAs we all know, Rugby League is an inherent part of the Indigenous culture. With the Parramatta Eels on board with the NT Government, eager to provide healthy, positive, male role models for our youth in the Territory.â€ Burney said.
â€œWith an NRL Premiership match being played in Darwin; Sports Development programs and an NRL Trial match to be played in Alice Springs each year, itâ€™s a wonderful outcome for all concerned.
â€œThe National Indigenous Rugby League Council would like to congratulate everyone for all the hard work that has been done in achieving this brilliant partnership.â€
There is one Eels player who is very familiar with the area, with half Luke Kelly a NT native, having played all of his junior footy with the Katherine Bushrangers from the ages of 4-16 – with the half excited to have the chance to play in his home territory.
â€œThe opportunity to return home to the NT, playing for the Eels in the NRL is incredibly humbling. It doesnâ€™t seem that long ago I was running around in the Katherine Junior Rugby League so to return as an NRL player is a bit surreal,” said Kelly.