Dyldam Parramatta Eels co-captain Tim Mannah says Saturday night’s upcoming Round 2 encounter with the Sydney Roosters will be a great test for the side, after kicking off the 2014 season with a win over the New Zealand Warriors. 

Mannah is quietly confident the Eels will continue to build into a better side as the Premiership season continues. 

“I think it’s probably the best test to see how we’re travelling, they’re the benchmark and won the grand final and we want to test ourselves against the best,” Mannah said. 

“For us it doesn’t do us any good to look back at all, whether it was a couple of months ago or Round 1 last year; it’s about being present and being the best we can be at the moment.”

The Roosters have been dealt a blow with star play-maker Sonny Bill Williams ruled out for three weeks for a shoulder charge, but Mannah’s wary of labelling them a depleted side.

“I think they’re an example that it doesn’t take one or two good players to win a competition; whether Sonny Bill’s there or not, they’re a quality side right across the park,” he said. 

“For us it’s about showing our attitude and mentality and being ready to go to work and doing the best we can.”

Recovering from what was a physical encounter with the Warriors, Mannah says he’s now preparing to take on another big forward pack.

“The Warriors left us pretty sore and sorry the next day, but I think that’s the thing in the NRL - every forward pack is big and every week is a strong test, and we’re looking forward to seeing how we go,” he said. 

“In terms of testing ourselves against the best, I think we’ll get a good stance of how we’re travelling after Saturday night.”

Mannah is particularly impressed with the new players who have made their way into the Eels team in 2014, and is positive about the year ahead. 

“I’m optimistic every year - I think if you’re not then you shouldn’t be playing - and for us it’s no different this year,” he said. 

“It’s good to know we’ve got great players in key positions doing their part for the team, and on top of that, everyone else doing their job across the park, not relying on one or two players.”

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