The Parramatta Eels have paid tribute to Life Member and Club legend, Denis “Big D” Anderson, one year since his passing.
Denis started working with the Eels in the 1970s and was involved at every level of the footballing programs from the Junior Representative teams all the way through to our NRL team.
Current players Clint Gutherson and Brad Takairangi, as well as Club legends Tim Mannah and Nathan Cayless reflected on the impact he had at the Club.
Gutherson said it’s hard to put into words what Big D meant to him.
“He was just the nicest bloke ever. He wanted to help you before him. Everything he did for the juniors right up to first grade was just phenomenal,” Gutherson said.
“A year on, we can really reflect on the great times and the great memories he had at the club. Me personally, some of the best ones, were just having a chat to him. Talking rubbish by the barbecue, you could sit there for hours,” he said.
Eels remember 'Big D' one year on
Denis’ generosity was felt across the club enormously.
On countless weekends, having already been to collect the gear for the day, he arrived early 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.
“Definitely one of the most selfless blokes I have ever met. Always putting the boys and the club before yourself,” Brad Takairangi said.
“Anyone who has been involved with the Parramatta Eels knows what he has meant to this place,” Tim Mannah said.
“I still remember as a 15-year-old playing in the Harold Matthews competition and after every game ‘Big D’ would have a full spread ready for us; roast chicken, fresh bread rolls, fruit and I remember when I got older every other club used to talk about how jealous they were of the spread that the old man used to put on for us,” Mannah said.
Denis was named Clubman of the Year in 2013 and was made a Life Member of the Parramatta Eels in 2017.
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.
Cayless said he won't forget the mark 'Big D' left on the club.
“For me, he was the backbone of the club. There is nothing Denis wouldn’t do for the Club. Anything that was needed, he was always willing to do it. He was one of the selfless people I’ve ever met and had the pleasure to work with,” Cayless said.
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!”
The Eels dressing rooms at Bankwest Stadium are officially named the ‘Denis Anderson Rooms’ ensuring that Denis’ presence on Game Day remains for evermore at our home.