On Sunday 11 February 2018, the Parramatta Eels surged past the 20,000 Blue & Gold Member tally, passing the milestone for the first time before Round One!
During the annual Blue & Gold Army Festival, long time supporter Debbie Burnes became a Member, however, it involved a bit of luck to be the lucky milestone Member!
Debbie had all intentions of renewing her Membership, making the communte from Lithgow to the festival, but her nephew renewed her Membership on her behalf as a gift.
Debbie has been a Blue & Gold fan for 42 years, and a Member for six years until 2012 where Debbie unfortunately was unable to renew due to poor health.
Growing up in a family of Souths supporters, and a childhood rivalry with a classmate who was a St George fan, Debbie chose the Eels as her team, often decking herself up in Blue & Gold to go to school, and has been a die-hard supporter ever since.
“At first when I got the phone call I thought I was being stitched up,” Burnes said when told of the 20,000 milestone.
“I have not been in good health for the past 5 years but being the 20,000 Member and winning the prize has made me feel the best and happiest I have felt in years”
“Thank you. It still seems so surreal that I won. I am nearly crying I am that happy!” Burnes added.
And whilst Burnes is looking forward to seeing Hayne back in the Blue & Gold, brimming with confidence about the 2018 season ahead with Head Coach Brad Arthur in charge and looking forward to the Club’s first game at the new Western Sydney Stadium, it was a interview and chat with Eels legend Nathan Cayless at the festival that topped it off.
“I couldn’t answer Nathan properly when he was asking me questions because I was so star struck!”
Burnes was the luck recipient of a 2018 signed Parramatta Eels jersey as the 20,000th Member.