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The Best of Enemies - Australian Rugby league News
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globalrugbyleague - Sun, 22 Apr 2007 13:00:00 GMT

There are three things certain in life. Death and Taxes are the obvious first two.

The third is pretty easy to pick up if you’ve followed the greatest game of all long enough. If you don’t follow League, then you could be waiting around for a while.

So what is the final certainty you ask? That’s easy. It’s the contempt for losing in the long-running saga that is the suburban rivalry between Parramatta and Canterbury.

There is no love lost in a feud which in it’s essence started back in 1984 when the Dogs ended the three-year premiership reign of the Eels.

Since then we’ve seen it all.

From the verbal stoushes between former Bulldogs supremo, the late Peter Moore and current Eels CEO Denis Fitzgerald to the demolition scorelines, this rivalry has been one hell of a ride.

Both sides are armed with plenty of emotional cholaterol built up as the years have gone by.

Canterbury fans didn’t like being denied a third consecutive premiership win in 1986 nor have they forgotten their 56-4 loss to the blue and gold in 2005.

Parramatta securing the services of Jim Dymock, Dean Pay, Jarrod McCracken and Jason Smith during the Super League war didn’t go down to well either at Belmore.

And as Mark O’Meley revealed this week, no one can forget the ‘stupid’ dance Mark Riddell performed on the night the Eels inflicted their biggest win ever over of the injured puppies.

You see it doesn’t matter how many years pass.

In this battle for supremacy, memories are as clear as the sliding glass doors the cleaners have just polished.

Parramatta have plenty of painful recollections to call upon in reserve if they need some pre-game motivation.

Losing in 1984 wasn’t the nicest gesture by the Dogs. But being beaten in the 1998 preliminary final after leading 18-2 with 11 minutes to go, now that hurts.

The taunts about that loss have never retired and probably never will.

Canterbury-Bankstown have also won 3 Grand Finals since 1986 and hold a better record over the Eels at Parramatta Stadium having won 6 of their past 13 clashes played there.

Will this be enough to help former Bulldogs player Michael Hagan grab his first win as Eels coach over former teammate Steve Folkes? Maybe.

Or does Steve Folkes know ‘Hages’ too well for Canterbury to get troubled out on the park? Tactically speaking both men deserve a lot of respect, having both won premierships.

Whoever wins today’s clash of the titans will simply earn even more.

Perhaps with two former Canterbury figures at the helm of these respected arch-rivals, the big winner from today’s clash will probably be the fans.

This afternoon these two sides will not just play a football game. They will go to war in an attempt to crash and burn the campaign of the opposition.

With games like this on offer, how can you not love your Rugby League.

History Shows:

Head To Head:
Played 118, Dogs 64, Eels 49, drawn 5.

At Parramatta Stadium:
Played 13, Eels 5, Bulldogs 6, drawn 2.

Last 8 Clashes:

2006 – Bulldogs 22 d Eels 18 @ Telstra Stadium.
2005 – Eels 56 d Bulldogs 4 @ Parramatta Stadium
Bulldogs 30 d Eels 16 @ Telstra Stadium.
2004 – Bulldogs 48 d Eels 14 @ Telstra Stadium.
2003 - Bulldogs 30 d Eels 10 @ Telstra Stadium.
2002 - Bulldogs 28 d Eels 10 @ Sydney Showground.
Bulldogs 32 d Eels 18 @ Parramatta Stadium.
2001 - Eels 24 d Bulldogs 16 @ Sydney Showground.

Biggest Head To Head Wins:
Eels 56 d Bulldogs 4 @ Parramatta Stadium, 2005
Bulldogs 42 d Eels 6 @ Belmore Stadium, 1993. - Read More, Here