Steve Sharp Speaks at the Season Launch

Dyldam Parramatta Eels Chairman Steve Sharp spoke to the Eels players, Members, fans and our corporate partners at the 2014 season launch. As we prepare to kick off Round One, see what he had to say to the Eels family in his welcome address.

Good evening everyone, and welcome to the Dyldam Paramatta Eels 2014 Season Launch.

I’d like to acknowledge that we’re on the land of the Darug people, the traditional owners of this land. And I’d like to acknowledge the present Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, who are strong supporters and contributors to our great club, and great contributors to the Parramatta area.

On behalf of the Board of the Parramatta District Rugby League Club, I’d like to welcome our distinguished guests; Mr Bill Moss AM, Founder of the FSHD Foundation for research into muscular dystrophy, State MPs Dr Geoff Lee (Parramatta), David Elliott (Baulkham Hills), Tony Issa (Granville); our club patrons Alan Overton and Don Ritchie; the Lord Mayor of Parramatta, the Hon John Chedid, and his Councillors.

And from the NRL we have Tony Crawford, thank you Tony.

The past 12 months of our club can be characterised very simply with one word: change. We have seen changes at Board level, in the playing and coaching area, and in our club’s administration. To have so much change in a short period of time was not easy for our club or our supporters, but change was needed.

As someone who loves this club dearly, the last few years have caused me great heartache. More importantly, I’ve seen how the frustration of this period has affected the players, our Members and our fans. I know many of us want to draw on the club’s past glories to try and inspire success, but I have not been entrusted by the Members of this club to go back in time.

What the Members and fans are asking the Board to do is transform this club for the future so we have new premierships to celebrate and new champions to honour.

To achieve this, the Board have made a number of tough decisions. We have done this to ensure the club can build towards our goal of long-term, sustainable success. I give a commitment on behalf of the Board that we will leave nothing in the dressing sheds in our efforts to create a successful and sustainable Parramatta Eels Football Club.

Tonight I am especially pleased to welcome Brad Arthur to the position of Head Coach. In the few months since Brad started we’ve already seen a major change come across the playing group. I look forward to Season 2014 with optimism and confidence, and truly believe Brad is the man to turn around the fortunes of the Eels.

We have seen the appointment of Scott Seward as our new CEO. Scott’s extensive experience in sports administration across the NRL and AFL will be crucial as we transform our club over the next few years. We also welcome back to the club Daniel Anderson as our Head of Football Operations. Along with Brad, Daniel has been tasked by the Board with transforming our club’s football operations into the most modern and successful program in the NRL.

This club would not exist without the tremendous support of our corporate partners. This year we welcome a new naming rights partner in the iconic, Parramatta-based, family company Dyldam. To the team at Dyldam, welcome. They’ve been a long-term supporter of the club and I thank them for expanding their partnership with the Eels. We also welcome new corporate partners Unibet, Shine Lawyers, Tata Motors, Content Security and the Northern Territory Government.

Our agreement with the Northern Territory Government is one of the most innovative partnerships in the NRL, and it was fantastic to see how much the Northern Territory Government and the community embraced the Eels a couple of weeks ago in Alice Springs. We are very excited to build this partnership in the coming years.

Before I conclude I’d like to say a few words to our players.

To all our players who have returned to the Eels, and to those here for the first time: good fortune be with you, gentlemen, and mostly enjoy the ride. This club has been built on great mateship and mutual respect, out of which many champions have been born. Tonight we have a number of those legendary champions with us. Among those, we have the great Ken Thornett - welcome Ken.

These champions weren’t just great players. My definition of a great champion is when the individual not only values his performance, but puts the team and the club above all else.

I’m sure we can remember the great Ray Warren speaking across the airwaves on countless occasions: “Sterling onto Kenny, onto Cronin, out to Ella and Grothe scores in the corner”. These individuals were great players and great champions, but their success was built on what they did for each other and what they did to put the team and the club first.

Tonight I want to say it’s time for the club to create more champions. This season, I want all of you to constantly ask what you can do you can do to put your teammates and this great club first. If you can build your season around those values, then we will have success, and I can assure you all that our Members, fans and the Board will be right behind you every step of the way.

Finally I would like to thank Erin and Bonnie and the Eels promotions team for putting tonight’s wonderful occasion together. As always, they’ve done a spectacular job. Thank you, and enjoy the evening.