Eels fans: Trust the process

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I was born in 1989, three years after the Parramatta Eels won their last premiership. My father, Peter, is the reason I support the Eels.

Dad lived through our glory days, was at all those grand finals through the 1980s and often regales me with stories about Peter Sterling, Ray Price, Michael ‘Gentleman’ Cronin and Steve ‘Zip Zip’ Ella. Then I get jealous because he was there and I wasn’t. I tell him to stop.

My Parramatta Eels running last but 2018 NRL season one of my favourites

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With round 12 already underway in the Telstra Premiership, my Parramatta Eels sit at the bottom of the ladder. Don’t get me wrong, this is mildly upsetting.

No one likes to see their team at the bottom of the ladder, but I have to be honest – season 2018 has been one of my favourite years of footy so far.

So much is happening on and off the field that I’m just enjoying and I have found myself watching more football and becoming even more passionate about protecting and celebrating our game – particularly when there seem to be plenty out there who don’t want to do the same.

Mary’s Wonder Women: Cricket, netball and State of Origin

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My favourite thing that happened in women’s sport this week was watching history being made in India when the first ever IPL Women’s T20 challenge took place in Mumbai.

I have to be honest, I didn’t really care about the result because the Supernovas and the Trailblazers each featured some of my favourite members of the Australian Women’s Cricket Team, but it was the Supernovas (7-130) who beat the Trailblazers (6-129) by three wickets.

JT’s game is broken and cannot be fixed

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Heading into Round 12, North Queensland sit in 15th spot on the ladder with six points. It’s fair to say that for the Cowboys to play finals in September, they will require some sort of miracle – or an epic turnaround in form.

2018 has been a rollercoaster from Round 1 so it’s almost too easy to forget that heading into this season the narrative was that the Cowboys were going to win the premiership after their gritty and spirited performances last year which saw them make the grand final.

How Cameron Smith turned around his public persona

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I am ashamed to reveal this, but I was once a rugby league fan that disliked Cameron Smith.

To be fair, my distaste was not just about Cameron. It extended to the entire Melbourne Storm team, particularly Smith, then Greg Inglis, Cooper Cronk and Billy Slater.

As a Parramatta Eels fan, it was very easy to be bitter and jealous of a team that had beaten my own in the 2009 Telstra Premiership grand final.

I did not go into that grand final expecting to win. The Eels had given me enough joy that season after a seven-game winning streak, which saw us just scrape into the finals.

Where have the NRL’s ‘little men’ gone?

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Last week it was revealed that the NRL was considering reducing the number of interchanges from eight to six, so as to combat the game’s growing injury toll.

Serious injuries have reportedly increased this season, with 12 players suffering injuries which will keep them on the sidelines for extended periods, compared to just nine last year in the same period.

Sorry Israel, I don’t want you back in the NRL

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Last year at the NRL grand final, Macklemore performed his smash hit ‘Same Love’ in front of 79,722 people.

While he sang that song, on the big screens at ANZ Stadium the following words played on loop – ‘we stand for diversity’, ‘we stand for inclusiveness’ and ‘we stand for courage’.

It was one of my proudest moments as an NRL fan; to see our sport stand up and say that it is one that welcomes everyone no matter their gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or beliefs.

King, Peats, Boyd will always be Mummy’s boys

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“I am very proud that he has persevered. If you want someone who is resilient, that’s Cam. He’s a great footballer, but it’s the more personal stuff that makes my heart swell with pride.” – Amanda King [Cameron’s mum]

Headgear. Mouthguard. The jersey tucked into his shorts. The shorts that were 10 sizes too big that came up to his armpits.

They are Amanda’s earliest memories of her son Cameron King who started playing footy at age four in the under-7s. Cameron had tried to play when he was three, but there was no under-6s team, so he had to wait.

Mary’s Wonder Women: The Sharks are Tarsha Gale premiers

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The Cronulla Sharks are the 2018 Tarsha Gale Cup premiers, after defeating the Newcastle Knights 36-22 in the grand final at Leichhardt Oval last Saturday.

The standout performance of the match belonged to Faith Nathan, who scored the first try, then followed it up with two more, adding to the five tries she scored in the Sharks’ preliminary win over the St George Dragons.

What happened to last year’s premiers? The Storm have plenty of work to do

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Something very odd happened in the game between the St George Illawarra Dragons and the Melbourne Storm yesterday but truth be told it was just one moment in a very bizarre afternoon of rugby league at Kogarah.

The Dragons were eventual winners of the game 34-14 and very well-deserved ones at that. After it appeared the Storm had turned a corner in the last three weeks with some dominant performances where they scored 21 tries in three games, the lack of ball control and overall ill-discipline we saw earlier in the season returned. It was difficult to watch.