Bumper Farrell was running security for News Ltd in the early 80's when my working curiosity took me to Sydney.

He was a burly former policeman used to the ways of bush justice who headed the Darlinghurst station around playing 250 games as a prop for Newtown, then NSW and Australia.

Farrell could chat and for a sports enthusiast his tales were essential listening.

League was the sporting currency in Sydney and dominated any newspaper, TV and radio coverage while rugby union, VFL as it was and soccer worked the sidelines. Farrell added the colour and gloss for a newcomer to the city.


You had to follow a league team but how could you make that decision?

Was it where you lived or wanted to move to, jerseys they wore, rivals of your boss' side, where Aunty Betsy lived or some players you had noticed.

Out west the Eels had relentless lock forward Ray Price who had also been a fine loosie for the Wallabies and that was enough of a link. Nothing seemed to deter the man or Parra at that stage who were in the middle of a run of premierships.

Closer inspection took me into the worlds of Peter Stirling, Brett Kenny, Steve Ella, Mick Cronin, Eric Grothe, captain Steve Edge, Geoff Bugden, John Muggleton and "played strong, done good" coach Jack Gibson.

They all done good. They'd do me. Still do although wooden spoons have become more common than premierships.

Tonight we sail off in hope once more-maybe a top eight this season if new captain Kieran Foran can unite men like Semi Radradra, Michael Jennings, Corey Norman, Tim Mannah, Nathan Peats, Beau Scott and Manu Ma'u.

It's a rugged start against the Broncos though, beaten finalists last year and tipped to figure strongly again under Wayne Bennett's direction. Time for the Eels to get a dollop of Bumper into their game and deal out their own version of home patch justice.