Eden Tigers recall glory years

Two decades: Mike Sheppard, Mitchell Farrell and Sheldon Wykes with the memorabilia book.
Two decades: Mike Sheppard, Mitchell Farrell and Sheldon Wykes with the memorabilia book.

The Eden Tigers Rugby League Club held a massive reunion over the long weekend, bringing together players of three separate decades to celebrate the club’s history. 

There was a strong representation of players from 1978 right through to Eden Tigers players of today.

More than 100 people sat for dinner at the Great Southern Hotel in Eden on Saturday, June 9. Players continued to pop in and participate over the weekend’s course of activities. 

On Saturday night, speakers from each era talked about their successes, the importance of the club and the friendships that were made. Added humour involving certain Eden characters of the seventies was also mentioned.

“There used to be this corner called ‘hippies corner’ at the football ground where all the boys used to hang out,” long term member Sheldon Wykes said.

“They were very vocal and the corner was quite famous throughout the seventies and eighties here in Eden.”   

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Coach of the 1978 premiership side Wayne Charlton presented a speech, followed by a presentation by Gerrard Kelly who spoke fondly of his memories coaching two premiership sides in the 1980s.

Other successful coaches who spoke on the night were; Mark Brian who won the cup in 1995 and Mark Miller who coached three consecutive winning teams of 2006-8. Lee Hennessy, premiership coach of 2010, also said a few words.

Guest speaker on the night was Peter Kelly – the most successful Eden junior who progressed on to play a State of Origin and win two premierships for the Canterbury Bulldogs in 1984 and 1985. 

English imports Richard Agar and Greg Nicholson.

English imports Richard Agar and Greg Nicholson.

Englishman Richard Agar also gave an address. Having played for the club in 1995 he now works for St George Illawarra Dragons as a development officer and continues to supply the club with players from England.

“He has also been very influential in supplying the club with players from England over a 20 year period since he was here,” Mr Wykes said.

A highlight of the evening was the official release of the memorabilia book with content collected from 1997 to 2017. The book was put together by Mike Sheppard, Mitch Farrell and Mr Wykes. 

Mr Wykes said the book also has an emphasis on the beginnings of women’s league tag as well as the contributions of Aboriginal players to the club.

“We sold quite a few and there are still plenty more to sell left,” he said.

A plaque was presented on Sunday to three long term members of the club – Brian Switzer, Lloyd Cox and Ardi Edwards – a gesture of thanks from the Eden Tigers towards their significant contributions to the club over the years. 

Peter Furnell who won a premiership in 1978 and his son Darryl Furnell who won in 1995.

Peter Furnell who won a premiership in 1978 and his son Darryl Furnell who won in 1995.