The Ellerslie club was originally formed in April 1912 at a well attended meeting held in the Ellerslie Hotel. Our original club name and colours were the, Wanderers in Purple and Gold. The games were played at the back of the hotel, near the Racecourse. In 1913, our colours changed to green and two teams were entered into the 1st juniors and 4th grade competition. With the coming of WW1 most of the club enlisted and the club went into temporary recess for the next four years. These pre war years must of been very tough on our members, with the ‘new game’ taking on the establishment of the time.
Then on July 26, 1919, the club was re-established by the Chapman family, the only ones connected with the original club. The club members of this era volunteered & worked tirelessly to make improvements on the facilities of the time. Sometime during this era, the club is known as “Ellerslie United Rugby League Club” & played in red, white & blue, which we still wear to this day.
As documented in our 75th Jubilee, eight members of Chapman family collectively gave 280 years service to the club, they are… G Chapman Snr 33yrs, E Chapman 44yrs, A Chapman 26yrs, F Chapman Jnr 40yrs, G Chapman 39yrs, F H Chapman 50yrs, C Chapman 8yrs & G Chapman 40yrs. Words can’t express the gratitude we owe this, along with many other families & individuals who willingly gave their time to grow this club.
In 1923, a team of note, the 6th grade team, were presented caps in recognition of scoring more points than any other in the club that year: Then in 1924 our 1st championship came to the club. The 6th B grade team with a record of: played 12 – Won 12, points for 125, against 33, managers of the team were Messrs E Chapman & J Poland. That year another milestone was attained, entering our first senior team into competition.
1925 saw that team win the championship. In 1927 the Ellerslie club put itself on the map by winning the Senior B competition with a record of, played & won 16, points for 197, against.
1928 saw the introduction of our first Schoolboy grades – which to this day, upholds a proud record of achievement, both on & off the field. In 1931, at request of the ARL, an amalgamation of the Ellerslie, Otahuhu & Mangere clubs took place – the clubs abandoned this union at the end of the same year.
During WW2, only schoolboys & junior grade teams played, as the men & women again joined the war effort. Huge thanks must go out to those diehard club stalwarts for keeping the club going in those difficult years.
From 1945 to 1960 was a grand time to be involved, numerous championships in schoolboy, junior & senior grades. Auckland, North Island, Maori & Kiwi representatives were an ever present part of the club, names like C Duffy, G Phillips, B Campbell, R Hirawani & C Eastlake who is arguably Ellerslie’s best ever player to name but a few. In 1952, schoolboy teams from the Meadowbank area, wearing green and gold , affiliated to the club & joined in on the good times being had. The 55, 57 & 59 Premiers win the Fox Memorial / Champion of Champions, with the Premier team playing three Australian clubs -in 56 lost to Balmain 35 – 7 ,in 58 won over Manly Warringah 15 – 16 & in 59 a loss to the legendary St George 11 – 10.
1960 -1963, Ellerslie, City Newton & Eastern Suburbs [now called Mt Wellington], joined to form “Eastern Districts” who competed in the Senior & Reserve grades. This amalgamation won almost every trophy that was played for over those four years. Also in the early 60′s in 1964 saw the return of club football. the Mid to late 60′s saw major club renovations take place, new change rooms & showers, culminating with the grand opening of the main lounge [current 2nd floor of the clubhouse] in 1969. Pakuranga RLFC was also started as a feeder club to Ellerslie in 1968.
The 70′s saw the return of Morrie Robertson as the Premiers coach & modern day greats like K Stirling, M Eade, L Proctor, D Gailey & G Kemble amongst others, gained Kiwi representative honours, while playing here. This decade also produced many Junior Auckland reps that later on in their careers made higher honours, both on & off the field. A resolution was passed at the 1971 AGM, at 10:30am, to change to “Ellerslie Eagles Rugby League Football Club Inc” – which still stands today.
The 1980′s saw the affiliation of the Glen Innes Falcons [playing in purple & white] to Ellerslie. These teams gave a much needed boost to the junior section of the club, Kiwis Kevin Iro & Sean Hoppe both came from the Falcons, to rise through the Rugby League ranks to international stardom. This decade also gave birth to a new concept of administration, the Ellerslie Eagles Sports Club, this identity ran the day to day functions of the club, which entailed Rugby League, Tennis, Netball, Gym, Softball & Indoor Bowls, a concept that by decades end all came back under the Rugby League banner. This period saw our premiers move up & down between the Fox Memorial [1st Division] & the Sharman Cup [2nd Division], with 2nd Division Championship wins in 81 & 86.
Roll in the 1990′s, Back to Back Champions in 91& 92 for the Sharman Cup – Premiers, Reserve Grade & the Senior B grade with the long awaited & earned elevation back into the Fox Memorial in 93. The Junior section of the club rode the wave of success as well, being well represented in the Auckland age group teams of the decade The advent of the New Zealand Cup, of which our club was aligned to the Auckland Vulcans franchise, some of the many rep players of that era were M Ross, V Weir, D Murray, C Lee Fakavaimoenga, A Lester & L Swann. Happy times had at the club during this decade. A notable game of the mid 90′s, was Ellerslie V Otahuhu played at the Ellerslie Domain in front of a crowd of an estimated 3000 people, Ellerslie won & the queue to get in the clubrooms after that game, was out the door & into the car park, what a night!
2000 – 2010 A great start to the decade, playing 1st Division football & being very competitive, wining the 2nd Division Championship in 02. The National Bartercard Cup competition starts, with Ellerslie joining with 4 -5 clubs to form the Eastern Tornados – coached by former Ellerslie & Kiwi player James Leuluai. The Tornados did themselves proud & represented the East Auckland clubs with distinction. 2004, the reformation of a previous alliance, Otahuhu – Ellerslie, competed as one, in the Bartercard Cup. Strong juniors come to the fore and stamp their mark on their respective competitions.
I look forward to reminiscing & sharing the many stories of the club & her characters during the Centennial celebrations in 2012. To those who have played the game, given their time to volunteer, administer & work behind the scenes to build & maintain this club, thank you all.
The Club Committee has a vision of providing both on field facilities for its playing members as well as utilising the club buildings and resources for the good of the local community.