Emu Plains JRLFC
|Full name||Emu Plains Junior Rugby League Football Club|
|Nickname(s)||Emu, The Emu's|
|Colours||Red, White and Blue|
The Emu Plains JRLFC, colloquially known as just Emu, is a Rugby League club in the Penrith, New South Wales District. The club fields both Junior and Senior teams with players starting as early as 4 years old. The club colours are red, white and blue.
Although officially formed in 1967, the club was around as early as 1912. The first evidence of rugby league in Penrith comes from newspaper reports in April 1912 of a match between ‘Glenbrook Rovers' and a combined ‘Penrith and Emus' team at the Penrith Showground. Known as the Emu Wanderers, they joined the Western Districts Junior League. It included teams from Parramatta, Auburn and Lidcombe. In 1913, the Western Districts entered a team in the Presidents Cup competition. The majority of the team was made up of players from Emu Plains and Penrith, the first time players from the district competed in a competition run by the New South Wales Rugby League.
By the 1920s, the Western Districts League had a sub-office in Blacktown and the competition included teams from Auburn, Lidcombe, a number around Parramatta, Wentworthville, St. Marys, Blacktown, Riverstone, Windsor, Emu Plains and Penrith. The Western Districts Junior Rugby League was gaining strength, as Emu Plains took A and B grade teams to Riverstone where they won 47-0 and 5-0 respectively. In 1927 Emu Plains decided to field a private team in the Blue Mountains competition - under the banner of "Emu Gravel Company". "They were big buggers, tough as bags" said Jack Lack.
The club prides itself on its family values providing a solid platform for its on-field successes. With more than 30 teams from Under 6's through to A Grade, the club is one of few in the area that accepts four-year-olds. Emu Plains has a very competitive rivalry with Penrith Brothers, every year since 2009 the two clubs have a "retro day". The Emu club has had varied success, with teams in the finals most years, and the Emu Plains A Grade team defeating St Mary's Saints to win the 1st Division A Grade competition in 2009. In 2010, Emu's A Grade found themselves in the Grand Final for the 3rd year in a row. In a nail-biting match the St Mary's Saints led 12-6 at half time, then extending their lead to 18-6 4 minutes into the second half. With a few minutes to go Emu were down by 6, and then in the last minute of the game, Emu Plains scored to take the game into Golden Point. After 22 minutes of extra time and with each side having about a dozen field goal attempts, the Saints kicked a successful field goal to win the game 19-18. After an exhausting 102 minute Grand Final, Emu Plains had been defeated by one point.
Emu Plains' colours were originally blue and white and because of this they were commonly known as the Emu Blues. By the 1960s, there were multiple teams in blue and white, including Newtown, Canterbury and a number of Junior League clubs such as the Penrith Warratahs. So Emu added red to their uniform, and this is the tri-colour the club has today.
Emu Plains JRLFC has produced multiple top grade NRL players. Luke Rooney (1989–1995), Trent Waterhouse (A Grade 2001), Tulsen Tollett (1988–1990), Andrew Ryan (C Grade 1995), Shane Rodney (U/17 2000), Danny Galea (A Grade 1996-1998) Chris Levy (1990–1995) and Hilton Sheens (cousin of George Sheens, grandfather of Tim Sheens, Percy Dukes local cricketer and all round sportsman ) can all claim an Emu Plains JRLFC origin. Former top grade players that have coached/trained/played in a side at Emu Plains include Barry Walker, Colin van der Voort, Peter Kelly, Peter Lewis, Lenny Stacker, John Farragher and Neville Glover. Also "Bluff" Colless, relative of former Penrith Mayor Alfred Colless is thought to have been linked with Emu Plains.
Lester, Gary and Prichard, Greg, Bound for Glory: Story of the Penrith Panthers (1992) ISBN 0-949853-48-8.