The Dyldam Parramatta Eels have this week announced a three-year partnership with New South Wales Touch Football, to increase awareness of and participation across rugby league and touch football in Western Sydney.

The Memorandum of Understanding will see the Eels and the NSWTA work collaboratively to promote local touch football competitions and skills clinics, while also promoting the work of the Eels in the community.  

“Today is the starting point of the relationship with NSW touch football and it’s really important from a Parramatta Eels perspective to be able to connect with the local associations in our area,” Parramatta Eels Manager of Community Development and Engagement, Michael Basan, said.

“There are five associations and today is just the start of a launching pad of a partnership that will see us engage with these associations in a more regular basis.”

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One of the partnership’s particular goals is to increase female rugby league participation through touch football, as well as developing a hybrid women’s game to be played during the rugby league season.

“We are really excited about the relationship. In terms of players, we have a huge female participation base in our game, so to be able to connect those players now with an NRL club like Parramatta is fantastic,” Sport Manager of NSW Touch Football, Daniel Rushworth said.

“Our state strategic plan is all about increasing participation and our national one is about reaching that million participation figure by 2020 so to be able to do that with the assistance of a NRL club is going to be beneficial.”

The Eels and NSWTA will work to continually improve the relationship between the NRL club and local associations in the Parramatta region and Sydney’s north-west corridor. 

Parramatta Eels Assistant Coach and former Australian Representative touch football player, Steve Murphy, was proud and excited with the partnership.

“It is a great partnership to be involved with Touch Football and something I am very proud of and have a strong background in and I’m stoked with the partnership that the two bodies have been able to undertake,” Murphy said.

“The game originated and was a sport that the rugby league players did in the off-season and that’s how it originated from it’s early roots. It’s a great game to play, I certainly had a great time playing it when I played for the Parramatta Eels and I am glad we can be involved in some small way.”

“My wife coaches and plays, and has so for several years, and my two girls are getting into it now so we are grateful that it provides opportunities for young people to continue to be fit and healthy and that’s what we are after.”

Click here to see photos from the launch