Did we see Parramatta arrive as a 2017 premiership force on Friday night against Brisbane? That might be slightly premature, but we’re going to take the opportunity to celebrate 25 years since the Eels’ memorable upset of Great Britain for Too Good Tuesday.
Parramatta rookie Lee Oudenryn famously beat Great Britain speed machine Martin Offiah in a goal-line to goal-line race prior to the Lions’ 1992 tour match against the Eels, setting the tone for the evening.
Languishing in 14th in the premiership, the no-name Eels produced their most inspiring performance of the season in front of a bumper home crowd of 18,220.
Offiah bagged two tries to overturn Parramatta’s halftime lead, but the hosts hit back with tries to Scott Mahon and Stu Galbraith to close out a 22-16 boilover. Wily skipper Brett Kenny was outstanding, laying on three of the Eels’ four tries. It was to be the Lions’ only non-Test defeat on tour.
As for Oudenryn, he finished with eight tries in 19 games in his ’92 rookie season, but failed to kick on in three subsequent campaigns with the Eels.
A year with the struggling Gold Coast Chargers in 1996 revived his career, however, and he scored 23 tries in 61 games as a winger/fullback for the Auckland Warriors from 1997-2000, before retiring in the wake of a fruitless season at North Queensland.