Saturday 20 January 2018 / 05:58 PM

Archrivals' biggest showdown in five years

Parramatta and Canterbury harbour one of the most colourful, intense and incident-packed club rivalries in the NRL. The Eels and Bulldogs grappled for supremacy throughout the 1980s, winning four premierships apiece – including one Grand Final victory each over the other – while who could forget the epic individual battles between halfback maestros Peter Sterling and Steve Mortimer?


After a decade in the doldrums for Parramatta, the rivalry ramped up again when the Super League war broke out following the Eels’ controversial capture of a quartet of Bulldogs internationals. Canterbury enjoyed glorious revenge, however, in an unforgettable preliminary final comeback in 1998. The Dogs trailed 18-2 with 11 minutes remaining, but drew level with three late tries before surging to a 32-20 win in extra-time.


The rivalry simmered away during the 2000s despite the absence of notable big games – aside from the Eels’ 25-6 semi-final elimination of the Bulldogs in 2007 – until the clubs were pitted against each other in a feverishly anticipated preliminary final in ’09. The Jarryd Hayne-inspired Parramatta juggernaut took on the second-placed Canterbury side in front of a non-Grand Final record crowd of 74,549 at ANZ Stadium. The match lived up to expectations, with the Eels prevailing 22-12 in a drama-charged classic.

Parramatta has languished at the foot of the ladder since, taking the spice out of the rivalry somewhat in recent seasons – Canterbury racked up four 20 points-plus margin wins over the blue-and-golds between 2010 and 2013. But now the Eels are finals contenders again, while the out-of-sorts Bulldogs are in grave danger of slipping out of the eight. The clubs meet on Friday in what shapes as the game of Round 23, and a season-defining encounter for both clubs – the biggest match between the bitter archrivals in five years. Strap yourselves in!

Follow Commentary Box Sports on Social Media!

facebook twitter alt instagram tumblr

Add Comment

About the author

Commentary Box Sports

Commentary Box Sports invites a forum of truth and uncensored discussion of not only Australia’s greatest pastime, the world's. We offer around the world, up-to-date coverage of the sports we love and live by.

More nrl News

Special Features