Why not us? Eels have the grand final in sight.
Why not us? Eels have the grand final in sight.

Why not us? Eels have premiership in sight

It's a feat achieved only once in the 108-year history of rugby league but Parramatta believe they can go from wooden-spooners to premiers in a season.

The Western Suburbs Magpies finished last in 1933 but then went on to win the competition in 1934.

No other side has emulated the achievement since.

The Sydney Roosters went from last in 2009 to a place in the 2010 grand final but lost to the St George Illawarra Dragons.

 

The Western Suburbs Magpies finished last in 1933 then went on to win the competition in 1934. Photo courtesy of Ian Collis.
The Western Suburbs Magpies finished last in 1933 then went on to win the competition in 1934. Photo courtesy of Ian Collis.

Only seven teams - Cronulla, Melbourne, Roosters, Canterbury (twice), South Sydney and Newcastle - in the NRL era have finished at the bottom of the table and then gone on to play in a finals series the following year, according to Fox Sports Lab.

This season the Eels will become just the eighth side to do so and Brad Arthur's men believe they have what it takes to win the club's first premiership since 1986.

 

 

"We've got a goal as a club to win the grand final this year and nothing is going to stop us from focusing on that. We've still got our eyes on the prize," Parramatta forward Kane Evans said.

"No one wants to play to come third or fourth or fifth. We just have to get to the finals and it's a whole new ball game."

After winning only six games in 2018, the Eels are currently in sixth spot on the ladder and could end the regular season as high as fourth.

Gutherson says his side have the ‘belief’ needed to be title contenders. Picture: Brett Costello
Gutherson says his side have the ‘belief’ needed to be title contenders. Picture: Brett Costello

 

Captain Clint Gutherson said it's a turnaround that has reinstalled a sense of faith in Parramatta's capabilities.

"We've got the belief," Gutherson said. "We've got belief in our team and our staff.

"If we finish up there we've got two shots, if we can win four of four or three of four it's going to go a long way … we just want to be there and we know we can make a big splash when we are there.

"Everyone asks about last year and how it went so wrong. Confidence and form, when it's down, it's all down. When it's up there, everyone is confident and you win the games you should be winning and that's the feeling we have at the moment.

"No matter what time it is in the game we are confident we are going to win."

 

 

The Eels are charging into the finals having won seven of their last nine games, and Gutherson credits the 22-16 come-from-behind victory against Canberra in round 15 for his side's resurgence.

"It started against Canberra in Darwin when we were 16 points down, we didn't really worry, we stuck to what we knew and it ended up working and we ended up getting the win," he said.

"Last weekend against Newcastle we found ourselves down with 25 or 30 to go. That's the positive thing we've been taking out of it, last year we'd probably end up losing by 30 instead of winning by six or four or two."

The 2019 Eels are only the eighth side to finish last then play in a finals series in the following season. Picture: Brett Costello
The 2019 Eels are only the eighth side to finish last then play in a finals series in the following season. Picture: Brett Costello

 

Flyer Blake Ferguson wasn't named again for Friday night's game against the Gold Coast Titans as he continues to recover from an infection in his knee.

But Gutherson revealed the NSW Blues winger has returned to training.

"Fergo is looking good. He ran [Tuesday] and [Wednesday], which is a positive sign," Gutherson said.

"As long as we keep winning we don't need to rush him back so we can let his mind and his body get back on track the way it needs to."

Live stream the 2019 NRL Telstra Premiership on KAYO SPORTS. Every game of every round live & anytime on your TV or favourite device. Get your 14 day free trial >

News Corp Australia


Age is no barrier for Tweed’s puzzle queen

premium_icon Age is no barrier for Tweed’s puzzle queen

For spritely 96-year-old Phyllis Barnett of Tweed Heads South, it is all part of...

BREAKING: Crash site found for missing plane

premium_icon BREAKING: Crash site found for missing plane

Westpac helicopter unable to winch a person down due to poor weather conditions

Caring for our smallest mates

Caring for our smallest mates

Tweed’s koala population will be in the spotlight on Sunday when a community day at...