It is with a heavy heart that the Parramatta Eels Club announces the passing of Life Member and Club legend, Denis “Big D” Anderson, at the age of 71. Denis had been battling cancer for the last 12 months and, unfortunately, passed away this afternoon, Wednesday 22 May, with his family by his side.
Denis started working with the club over 44 years ago and was involved at every level of the Eels footballing programs from the Junior Representative teams all the way through to our NRL team.
On countless weekends, Denis, having already been to the Club to collect the gear for the day, arrived early in the morning at a suburban ground to set up for the Eels Junior Representative games and ended that same day clearing out the dressing room after an NRL Game late at night. In many ways, Denis is the embodiment of what the Parramatta Eels Club has stood for in the game of Rugby League and the guardian of what it means to wear the Blue and Gold – Big D was the “heart & soul” of the Parramatta Eels.
Denis was named Clubman of the Year in 2013 and was made a Life Member of the Parramatta Eels in 2017. This year the Club created the ‘Denis Anderson Junior Club Person of the Year’ Award that will be awarded to the person that most embodies the spirit of the Blue and Gold within our Junior Representative Program.
Denis had been the long-time doorman for Parramatta Eels home games, yelling out his infamous call to arms as players made their way out of the dressing rooms “Parra’s in the tunnel!”
Fittingly on Easter Monday, the Eels dressing rooms at Bankwest Stadium were officially named the ‘Denis Anderson Rooms’ ensuring that Denis’ presence on Game Day remains for evermore at our new home.
On behalf of the Parramatta Eels we extend our deepest condolences to Denis’ family and friends.
The contribution Denis has made to the Parramatta Eels is immeasurable and the Club will honour his legacy at both the Panthers game tomorrow night and the Rabbitohs game next Friday.
“The Eels are the blood that runs through my veins. They are my heart and soul.”