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In our latest Ladies who League blog, Mary Kaye looks at the Parramatta Eels heading into the Round Five clash against the Canberra Raiders.

You can catch up on Mary Kaye's blogs at Ladies who League here.

Sometimes as footy fans it’s easy to get caught up in the performance of our first grade squad and forget that the Parramatta Eels are much more than the 25 man squad which represent us in the NRL competition every week.

The Eels are a family and from the grassroots to the board room, every single person has an important role to play – including you.

I know that making everyone feel like a valuable part of the family is something the club is focused on at the moment and it’s becoming clearer to me that more than ever we are a club that is about more than just what happens on-field.

I wrote last week about our new home, ANZ Stadium. Although nothing will ever feel quite the same as Pirtek, plenty of work was done by the Club to make it clear to the Cronulla Sharks that they were in opposition territory. Things like the 8,000 Eels flags that were given to fans before the game or the homage to Eels legends like Ray Price, Michael Cronin and Peter Sterling at the goal end of the stadium. Less subtle was the massive Parramatta Eels banner which lay across the top level of the northern end of the stadium.

This was not just about making it clear to the Sharks that they were in ‘Eels Territory’, but also about making ANZ Stadium feel like home for Eels fans.

I look forward to work continuing to be done in this space and ANZ Stadium becoming our new fortress for the next three years.

Rather than focus on the result for the first grade squad, I also wanted to take some time this week to celebrate our Harold Matthews side and the Tarsha Gale Nines side which both had wins last Saturday over the Sharks and Sydney Indigenous Academy.

For the Harold Matthews team, this was their fourth consecutive win and their fifth of the season.

For the Tarsha Gale Nines side, this was their fourth win of the season with Shaylee Bent scoring three tries and Brittany Starr scoring a double.

The Tarsha Gale Nines team is something I am particularly passionate about and I am proud that my club is also genuine about supporting women’s football.  Remember that the Eels are one of only 8 clubs to field a team in this competition, so it’s important to recognise that the Eels are also focused on creating an inclusive club where everyone has the opportunity to play footy if they want to.

This week the first grade squad take a road-trip to Canberra take on the Canberra Raiders. I’m expecting an extremely tough game, particularly since the Raiders have started their season off with only one win.

If the Parramatta Eels of weeks 1 and 2 turn up, I’m confident that we can make sure that the Raiders have only one win by the end of this round.

To anyone heading down to Canberra, be sure to rug up – there’s nowhere colder than GIO Stadium on a Saturday night.

Acknowledgement of Country

Parramatta Eels respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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