Saturday night’s match between the Parramatta Eels and the North Queensland Cowboys attracted a huge crowd, with more than 10,000 people attending the highly-anticipated NRL fixture.
Held at Darwin’s TIO Stadium, the game was an entertaining contest with the Cowboys ultimately taking home the win 4 – 35. It followed a successful player signing event at Mindil Beach Sunset Markets last Thursday, which saw more than 40 players from the two teams line up to meet and greet thousands of eager fans.
Several players and members of the Eels support crew also took part in community engagement initiatives while they were in town, including a Wheelchair Come and Try event, a visit to Don Dale Detention Centre and painting the Litchfield Bears clubhouse.
Litchfield Bears Rugby League Club President Peter Power said it was “amazing” having the Eels paint the clubhouse.
“We were so thankful and impressed with their work. We painted it ourselves a few years ago and it took us several weekends. The Eels did it in a few days and saved us so much time and money. We couldn’t have asked for a better job,” he said.
“A few players ran a coaching clinic on the last day. We’re the biggest club in the Territory, with around 500 players, and seeing the kids enjoy their time learning from the Eels players and coaching staff was fantastic.”
As well as plenty of loyal Territory supporters, the Eels v Cowboys game attracted NRL fans from across the nation, with many making the pilgrimage north to watch the popular teams, who were both placed in the top five on the ladder, go head to head.
In addition, thousands of NRL fans from across Australia tuned into the live broadcast on Foxtel or streamed the match online using Kayo at home, putting Darwin and the Territory as a whole in the spotlight.
Saturday night’s game was part of a long-running partnership between the Northern Territory Government and Parramatta Eels, which sees the club play one game in Darwin each season.