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Steve Ella (born 28 July 1960 in Mount Pritchard, New South Wales) is an Australian former rugby league footballer of the 1980s. He was a utility back for the Parramatta Eels, New South Wales and Australia, playing in 4 Tests for his country between 1983 and 1985. He is a cousin of the Ella brothers who were prominent in Australian rugby union in the 1980s.

Steve Ella
Personal information
Full nameSteve Ella
Born (1960-07-28) 28 July 1960 (age 59)
Mount Pritchard, New South Wales, Australia
Playing information
PositionCentre, Five-eighth, Fullback
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1979–88 Parramatta Eels 153 94 104 6 552
1985–86 Wigan 23 12 0 0 48
1988–89 Wakefield Trinity 20 7 18 2 66
Total 196 113 122 8 666
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1982–85 Australia 4 1 0 0 4
1983–85 City Firsts 2 1 0 0 4
1983–85 New South Wales 8 3 0 0 12
1988 Rest of the World 1 0 0 0 0
Source: [1][2]

Club careerEdit

Steve Ella had a ten-year career with the Parramatta Eels playing every position in the Eels backline, though mostly playing at either Centre or Five-eighth.

Nicknamed "The Zipzip Man" Ella was a member of Parramatta's star studded backlines of the early 1980s. He played alongside Brett Kenny, Mick Cronin, Peter Sterling and Eric Grothe. It was only the presence of Five-eight Kenny and the partnership he had with Halfback Sterling that saw Ella play most of his first grade games in the centres where he formed the NSWRL premiership's most lethal centre pairing alongside Cronin.

He was a member of four Premiership winning sides at Parramatta in 1981, 1982, 1983 and 1986 as well as the 1984 Grand Final loss to Canterbury-Bankstown. Ella scored tries in the 1981 and 1982 Grand Final victories over Newtown and Manly-Warringah.

Ella also played in England with Wigan during the 1985–86 season, scoring 21 tries in 23 games. He played stand-off in the 14-8 victory over New Zealand during the 1985 New Zealand rugby league tour of Great Britain and France at Central Park, Wigan on Sunday 6 October 1985,[3] played stand-off, scored 2-tries, and was man of the match in the 34-8 victory over Warrington in the 1985 Lancashire County Cup Final during the 1985–86 season at Knowsley Road, St. Helens, on Sunday 13 October 1985,[4] and played stand-off in the 18-4 victory over Hull Kingston Rovers in the 1985–86 John Player Special Trophy Final during the 1985–86 season at Elland Road, Leeds on Saturday 11 January 1986.[5]

Steve Ella finished his career in 1989 with Wakefield Trinity (captain) (Heritage № 1000) in 1988–89. He did return to Parramatta for the 1989 season, but did not play a single game due to injury and announced his retirement in July two weeks shy of his twenty-ninth birthday.

Club records and statisticsEdit

He scored 544 career points for Parramatta in 157 games putting him in 3rd place on the club's all-time points list. In 1982 he was the season's top try-scorer and also set the club record of a total of 23 tries in a season, until Semi Radradra scored a total of 24 tries in the 2015 season thus breaking the record. He scored 92 career tries for Parramatta placing him in 4th place behind Jarryd Hayne, Brett Kenny and Luke Burt on the club's all time try tally.

Representative careerEdit

Steve Ella made seven State of Origin appearances for New South Wales between 1983 and 1985.

He was first selected for the Blues in Game 1 of the 1983 State of Origin series at Lang Park in Brisbane. After originally being named in the starting side, at the last moment Blues coach Ted Glossop decided to start veteran Manly-Warringah pivot Alan Thompson instead and play Ella from the bench. The late change didn't work and after a poor game from Thompson, Ella came on in the second half and scored a try to give NSW a chance at victory, though Queensland went on to win the game 24-12. He was then selected in the centres alongside Mick Cronin for Game 2 at the Sydney Cricket Ground where he scored a try in the Blues' 10-6 triumph in muddy conditions for their sole win of the series. That game was notable because other than fullback Marty Gurr from Eastern Suburbs, the entire NSW backline consisted of Parramatta players (Grothe and Hunt on the wings, Ella and Cronin in the centres and Kenny and Sterling the halves). The NSW side that night was captained by Parramatta captain Ray Price while Eels forward Stan Jurd was on the bench. He retained his place in the side for Game 3 of the series in Brisbane, though Qld, led by their captain and Test 5/8 Wally Lewis outclassed NSW 43-22 after leading by 33-0 midway through the second half.[6]

Ella then played Games 1 and 3 of 1984 and in all three games of 1985 when the Blues eventually had a series triumph over Queensland.

At the national level, he was selected for the 1982 Kangaroo tour of Great Britain and France and appeared in twelve minor games, though he didn't play a Test on tour. In the tour match against Wales in Cardiff, Ella scored four tries equaling the record for an Australian in a full international. On that same tour in a game in France against Aquitaine in Villeneuve he scored seven tries equaling a record set by Cec Blinkhorn in the 1930s.

Steve Ella made his Test début for Australia against New Zealand in the 2nd Test of 1983 at Lang Park. After missing the 1984 Ashes Series against the touring Great Britain Lions, he made his return to the test team for the three test 1985 Trans-Tasman series against New Zealand.[7] This would prove to be the lasttime that Ella represented Australia in rugby league.

Ella also made two appearances for NSW City. He made his first appearance for City in 1983, playing 5/8 and scoring a try in their 30-14 win over NSW Country in Newcastle. His last appearance, also in Newcastle, came in City's 18-12 win in 1985 with Ella again playing 5/8.[8]

First grade matchesEdit

Team Matches Years
Parramatta 156 1979–88
Wigan 23 1985–86
Wakefield 20 1989
City Firsts 2 1983, 1985
New South Wales 8 1982–85
Australia 4 1982–85
Rest of the World 1 1988


  1. ^ NRL Stats
  2. ^ Rugby League Project
  3. ^ "1985 Tour Match: Wigan 14 New Zealand 8". 31 December 2011. Retrieved 1 January 2012.
  4. ^ "1985-1986 Lancashire Cup Final". 31 December 2011. Retrieved 1 January 2012.
  5. ^ "1985-1986 John Player Special Trophy Final". 31 December 2011. Retrieved 1 January 2012.
  6. ^ 1983 State of Origin series at Rugby League Project
  7. ^ 1985 Trans-Tasman Test series at Rugby League Project
  8. ^ Steve Ella - NSW City stats at Rugby League Project


  • Andrews, Malcolm (2006) The ABC of Rugby League Austn Broadcasting Corpn, Sydney
  • NRL Official 2007 Season Guide, News Magazines Surry Hills Sydney, for the National Rugby League

External linksEdit