The Dyldam Parramatta Eels send their condolences to the family and friends of Keith Gersbach, who passed away this week.

On the afternoon of April 12, 1947, Gersbach made history as he ran out on the wing for the ‘Blue and Golds’. It was the year the Parramatta club was born, and that game marked the first time a Parramatta side took part in the top-grade NSWRFL competition.

Captained by Bob Andrews and coached by Frank “Skinny” McMillan, that first ever Parramatta side had an indifferent season, but in just their second match, Gersbach and his opposite winger, Dave Munro, each scored a hat trick of tries against South Sydney.

It would be 67 years before Semi Radradra and Vai Toutai equalled the effort, scoring a hat trick each against the Warriors at Pirtek Stadium in Round 1, 2014.

Born in 1925, the St Mary’s Junior also played for the neighbouring Bulldogs from 1945-1946, playing a total of 40 first-grade games in his career.

On Saturday night, the Eels will honour our Eel Number 1, one of our originals, by wearing black armbands and requesting a moment's applause before kick off against the St George Illawarra Dragons.

Keith is survived by his daughter, Trish Maxwell, and 5 grandchildren, and will be farewelled on July 3 at St Mary's.