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Dear Members, Supporters and Friends,

On behalf of everyone at our Club, I want to thank all of you for the incredible support you have provided the Club in this unprecedented year. The commitment and flexibility our Members and Corporate Partners have provided has enabled this Season to proceed and ensure the Club emerges from 2020 in a good position.

Importantly for us as a community there appears to be light at the end of the tunnel and, hopefully, in Season 2021 we can have everyone back together at Bankwest Stadium without some of the necessary restrictions of this year. I know we all miss seeing our team, being with our friends and enjoying those great moments we can share together.

I want to provide a brief update on some of the key areas of the Club as we conclude the Home and Away Season.

On-field

First, I would like to congratulate the NRL as well as all Clubs and players, for working so well together to enable this season to proceed. We have had many obstacles to face throughout the year, but the determination to deliver Season 2020 should make the entire game proud of its achievement.

Our team has done a tremendous job of building on our success of last year and placing us in a good position to go deep into the Finals. The biosecurity measures have placed major restrictions on our Football Department, and they have had to endure some significant personal challenges throughout the season. I am grateful for the positive way in which they have handled these challenges and I want to thank our players and staff and their families for the sacrifices they have made and for their contribution to this season.

At the time of writing this, we are in the top four. We wish our players, and the coaching staff, the best of luck for the upcoming NRL Finals Series. I’m sure everyone at our Club including our Members and fans will be right behind our team during October. 

With the increased capacity for Finals games we want to ensure the Blue and Gold Army has as many Members at these games as possible.  Every one of our Finals Series matches will be dedicated to our Members, fans, followers and friends who have been with us through thick and thin. Thank you for your support, I am sure your voices will be the loudest throughout October.

Financials

The Board and Management are currently finalising our budget for next financial year. We are in a sound financial position thanks, in large part, to the unwavering support of our Members and Corporate Partners.

I do also want to acknowledge the great response from the Board and Management of the Parramatta Leagues Club (PLC) during the COVID period.  The impact on their business while their venues were closed was significant, however the good financial position of the PLC enabled them to navigate this period prudently.

Like most organisations we will face some uncertainty as we move into next year, but we have managed the situation well so far. Importantly, we believe the long-term outlook for our Club and our parent, Parramatta Leagues Club, remains positive.

Our Club also has a number of exciting Sponsorship announcements coming up in the next few weeks that will demonstrate our increasing strength on the Commercial side of the business. This will be important in growing our Club over the next 12-18 months and contributing to our financial stability.

Members

Our official Membership tally for Season 2020 of 29,011 was a record-breaking result in an extraordinary year. This result was not only the highest Member increase of any Club in the NRL in 2020, but also the eighth year in a row we have broken our Membership record. 

The loyalty and support our Members have shown this year has had a major impact on the positivity around our Club and we are focused on repaying your faith as we move forward. The next few weeks will be exciting as we enter the Finals for the third time in four years.

Our Club considers Membership to be a key area of growth, with our goal of reaching 40,000 Members continuing to be front of mind. We will be launching the 2021 Membership Program very shortly, where you will see a strong emphasis on growing not only the benefits our current Members receive, but also new ways in which supporters can join the Club for the first time and be part of our wider community.

Centre of Excellence

The Club is continuing its work on its Centre of Excellence at Kellyville Park. We successfully moved into the new facility in December, where the multiple fields and our new buildings have played a big part in managing through the COVID disruptions.

We are continuing to work with the government on the future development of the site including the new community matchday venue and our NRL/NRLW High Performance Centre. The design and planning phase of the facility will be accelerated over the coming months with the Club hoping to start construction sometime next year.

Stability is the key

I wanted to conclude my update by briefly addressing the importance of Club stability during this crisis period. During a recent Member survey, over 90% of Members nominated integrity and professionalism as key drivers of their positive response towards our Club.

This was an incredibly pleasing result, which highlights the importance of the Governance changes the Club has undertaken over the past three years and most recently at the PLC.

The stability at Board and Management level creates an environment that not only positions us to be successful, but also better enables us to navigate the challenges we may confront.

It doesn’t mean we will get everything right all the time, but we are committed to preserving that stability on deliver a Club our Members and fans can continue to be proud of, as well as being proud to be a part of.

I look forward to joining our Members and fans in supporting our team during the 2020 Finals Series.

Go the Eels,

Jim Sarantinos

Chief Executive Officer

Member number 1478933