For current Rabbitohs Football Manager, Mark Ellison, the memories of playing against Parramatta rank among some of his fondest as a player – particularly because they involve hits like the one we bring you today.
With the Rabbitohs on the march to a minor-premiership in 1989, the men in red and green managed to put together a Club record that eclipsed the famous premiership winning team of 1955, when they won their twelfth straight match against the Eels at Parramatta Stadium.
Playing out of position at fullback, Ellison found himself as the last line of defence against the Eels and what could have been a Parramatta four-pointer to Michael Erickson in an historic game.
“It was the first time I’d ever played fullback,” said Ellison.
“At half-time, our Coach, George Piggins, asked if I can play fullback and I told him I’d give it a go, so that’s how ended up in the right position to pull off that tackle.
“I’d always been told as a kid ‘always take the player with the ball and don’t take the dummy’. The thought came through just to make sure I nailed him and if he passed it I couldn’t do much about it. He had a bit of support around him, so I sort of came in at him slowly so he had to make a decision as to whether he was going to pass it. Thankfully he didn’t.”
But as though that wasn’t enough, Ellison was at it again mere minutes later, when Origin and Test star Brett Kenny came within a whisker of scoring, only to be stopped by another pulverising tackle by Ellison right on the try-line.
“I always remember that game, those two tackles and the way we fought back to get that win.”
But for Ellison, it was just another magic moment from a memorable season.
“We’d had a really good run – eleven in a row,” said Ellison.
“We’d come together really well as a team, which was pleasing because nobody had given us much of a chance at the start of the season, but that belief culminated in us getting 12 wins in a row that day.”
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