Sterling wants end to Eels' 1986 hoodoo - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Sterling wants end to Eels' 1986 hoodoo

By Steve Jancetic 26/09/2009 04:12:51 PM Comments (0)

Peter Sterling says the shadow of Parramatta's 1986 grand final triumph has hung over the NRL club long enough and is backing the new-age Eels to finally bring an end to the premiership drought.

Sterling, the man who wore the No.7 in all four of the Eels' premiership wins in the 1980s, says the time has come for a new breed to etch their name into Parramatta folklore and put an end to 23 years of finals heartache.

While the Parramatta sides of the 80s - featuring the Test stars Sterling, Brett Kenny, Michael Cronin, Steve Ella, Ray Price and Eric Grothe - will go down as one of the greatest groups ever assembled, Sterling says there is an opportunity for this year's squad to create their own slice of history as they seek to put the finishes touches on the most stunning mid-season turnaround ever witnessed.

"I think the shadow of that (1986 title) has hung over the club for too long," said Sterling, who was in the Eels sheds after Friday night's 22-12 preliminary final win over the Bulldogs at ANZ Stadium.

"I know that I've been disappointed and certainly players through the last 10-20 years have been disappointed that there have been comparisons to what went on way back when and it's time now that we've got new heroes to cheer and we've go plenty in here after that performance and what they've done the second half of this season.

"There's still a game to go, but going into next year, no matter what happens next week, every Parramatta supporter would be proud of the team they've got to support."

Sterling combined with the multi-talented Kenny to form one of the game's best halves partnerships - the pair forming a union that took them all the way to the green and gold.

The 2010 model of journeyman Jeff Robson and rookie Daniel Mortimer have some way to go to even go halfway to matching those deeds, but Sterling said the pair had proved they were capable of engineering a premiership triumph.

While the likes of usual suspects Jarryd Hayne and Fuifui Moimoi played leading roles in the win over the Bulldogs, it was Robson who was awarded the man-of-the-match award, with his calming influence helping take some of the pressure off Mortimer, who carried a hip injury into the match.

"I thought he was the best player out there - each player in this team knows the role that they play and he more than anybody played his role perfectly," Sterling said.

"When he took the line on he caused some real problems - I just thought it was a really smart all-round game in an important position."

Robson and Mortimer are trying to emulate the feat of Canberra's 1989 combination of a then uncapped Ricky Stuart and veteran Chris O'Sullivan, the only halves pairing not featuring an international in the last 32 seasons to guide their team to grand final glory.

"Statistics are a record of the past, not a prediction of the future - so whatever things might have happened over the past years has nothing to do with what happens next week," Sterling said.

"These guys, they're writing their own history, making up their own rules, and to me Jeff Robson and Daniel Mortimer would look pretty good in a premiership-winning photo."

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