Earlier this month (Sunday 18 November 2019), players and staff from the Parramatta Eels surprised a special Blue & Gold Member at his 18th birthday party.
The birthday boy, Kieran, has assisted around the Club for the last few seasons, running drinks to the players during their training sessions.
A passionate Eels Member who rarely misses a game, Kieran has autism however he does not let this impact him in a negative way. He brings plenty of energy to training and his incredible memory leaves some of the Blue & Gold speechless with his ability to recall statistics.
“The boys love Kieran, just ask anyone. He is pretty cluey and has a lot of ideas when it comes to our statistics, our good and bad, because he loves to remind us of the bad ones as well,” Tim Mannah said.
“He knows all our bad stats as well so a few of the boys have been offended with some of the stats he has pulled out, but it’s a credit to him and how smart he is and how much he knows.”
“Kieran brings a vibe to the place. He brings a lot of energy when he is around, he loves talking to the boys and being around the place,” Tepai Moeroa added.
“He knows all of my stats since my debut, my tries, my missed tackles.. he knows everything! He knows what game I did what in, whether I threw a cut out ball or not, what line I ran on what side of the field, he knows every single detail and statistic. He has an amazing mind and it’s great having him around the boys.”
Kieran’s mother Lyndall said that despite the long hard road they have been through, it was rewarding to see Kieran in this position.
“It’s very rewarding to see Kieran have a relationship with the Eels over the last couple of years. It is something that means a lot to us, as parents,” Lyndall said.
“We have had a long hard road with Kieran and this is a niche that he has found works for him, the statistics that he can pull out are amazing and I know he blows the boys away. It is great to see.”
Eels players Tim Mannah, Tepai Moeroa, Bevan French, Kane Evans, Reed Mahoney and Daniel Alvaro surprised Kieran at his 18th birthday party, a secret Lyndall had been working hard to keep under wraps.
“Kieran was very surprised to see some of the Parramatta Eels turn up today!” Lyndall said.
“It was a secret we have kept under wraps for quite some weeks and we were hoping it would all come together and it has today and he is thrilled.”
“For Kieran, it would mean the world for them to be here today. He just thinks the world of the boys that he has been working with. They respond so well to him and he just adores them.” Lyndall added.
“It was great to be able to celebrate his 18th, his family are lovely. I met them a few years ago and to see Brad Arthur get him in here amongst the boys, it’s really cool to see the boys embrace him as one of our own and I hope he had a great day,” Mannah said reflecting on the day.
“As soon as we were asked who wants to go, a few boys put their hands up and there was no hesitation to be there for his 18th birthday,” said Kane Evans when asked about attending the surprise.
“He is a good bloke so I was just happy I could be there to show some support and love.”
“Kieran is the man, every time we see him at training he has always done a good job. We love him because he knows everybody’s stats and he keeps us honest every week.”