This week, our Ladies Who League columnist, Mary Kaye, looks at the difference a year can make at Parramatta. Remember you can always find more of her work at ladieswholeague.com!
No matter what happens in the final 2 weeks of the NRL competition, I will look back on this season with tremendous fondness and pride in what our team has been able to achieve.
This time last year, Parramatta were on the bottom of the NRL ladder, staring down the barrel of a 2nd wooden spoon in a row. Our club and its management were finding themselves in the media for all the wrong reasons and Parramatta was not seen as a club where a player could come to see their career flourish.
Flash forward 12 months and the Club is a completely different place.
The scenes at Parramatta on Friday night were pure magic. In front of a full house at Parramatta Stadium, our boys came back after trailing by 12 at half time, to score 22 unanswered points to beat one of the top sides in the competition - Manly.
I would describe the feeling at Parramatta Stadium on Friday night as electric. Eels fans are some of the most dedicated in the competition and we have such passion for our team. Our team and its successes mean so much to us and to see the team performing so well has just brought a sense of tremendous joy to the fans.
Parramatta is starting to be recognised as a club that is on the way up. Amongst talent like Jarryd Hayne, Semi Radradra, Chris Sandow and Ken Edwards, a coach like Brad Arthur and a team that plays exciting attacking football, we are now seen as a club that players want to come to.
This is one of the reasons that I am so pleased about welcoming Beau Champion to the Parramatta Eels in 2015. I am looking forward to seeing him in the Blue and Gold next year and the team will benefit from the tremendous experience he will bring to our backline.
Finally, whilst I have given shout outs in recent weeks to players like Jarryd Hayne, David Gower, Chris Sandow and Semi Radradra, there is one man that I would like to make special mention of this week. Despite rugby league being a team effort - Isaac De Gois, please take a bow.
I must admit that when Nathan Peats was ruled out for the rest of the year, I almost ruled out Parramatta for the rest of the year. He had been the buy of the year and had made such a tremendous difference to our squad. I couldn't see Parramatta overcoming the loss.
That's why Isaac De Gois has been so special for us this year. He plays with grit and determination every week and hates to lose. Every week he commits 100% to his performance and it shows. He was the difference on the weekend.
He showed desperation on many accounts, tackled with gusto and his quick play-the-ball meant that Parramatta got a roll on on several occasions. I'm so delighted he is at the Club and look forward to some more of his magic in the next few weeks..
Big game this weekend at Newcastle - I'm looking forward to seeing our boys rise to the challenge. Go Parra!