Dyldam Parramatta Eels captain Tim Mannah has spoken to the media this afternoon about a new culture at the Blue and Gold that has not been seen in the previous few seasons.
Despite not coming away with the victory in Round Two against the Bulldogs, Mannah and the Eels learnt a lot during their defensive effort to kick off the first half where they defended 11 sets on their line.
“You can call it heart. I was really happy when we were out there,” Mannah said.
“I think the first 15 minutes when we were defending our line a lot, we drew a lot of confidence out of that and the more we were out there, the more it made us realise how far we have come as a team.”
“Without looking into the past too much, it definitely hasn’t been like that before” Mannah added.
Danny Wicks, who made his return to the NRL last week, impressed Mannah and the captain praised his work ethic and his application of the new Eels culture.
“I know Brad Arthur has mentioned it a few times but he is that kind of guy you want in your team,” Mannah said.
“He is great for morale, has a really good work ethic and has a real good mentality when he is on the field.”
“I think the coaching staff have done a really good job over the past 18 months building that culture of team mentality and that everyone wants to work hard for each other and Danny definitely fits that mould."
The Eels are faced with a few injuries heading into their Round Three clash against the NZ Warriors, with Beau Champion and Semi Radradra unavailable for selection, however Mannah was confident in the depth of the Blue and Gold squad.
“It wasn’t ideal with the injuries we had last Friday night but we have had enough time to recover and see where we are at,” Mannah said.
“It’s unfortunate we are going to miss a couple of players but we have really good depth this year and I have no doubt that the boys that will step in this year will do a really good job for us”
Mannah was disappointed for Radradra, the Eels winger who has scored four tries this season, before sustaining a medial ligament injury and praised the winger for his improvement over summer.
“I thought Semi has done a lot of great work during the summer to get to where he is,” Mannah said.
“He has done a lot of extras, and a lot of work behind the scenes, which showed how hungry he was to have a great year.”
“It is a little be disappointing for him but it gives someone else an opportunity now to step up.”
The Eels suffered a 48-0 defeat the to Warriors at Mt Smart in Round 18 of the 2014 season, a result Mannah said was not affecting the side.
“It’s a completely different team, it’s a different feel and a different vibe we have around the squad right now,” Mannah said of last seasons defeat.
“I have no doubt that what happened 12 months ago has no impact on the result this weekend.”
“I think it is more about us and not focusing on them and how they are travelling.”
“Early in the year, I think its really important to look in your own backyard and focus on things you can control and how we can be better,” Mannah added.
With the Eels announcing this week that Kieran Foran had agreed to terms with the club for the next four years, Mannah was not focusing on the signing, but rather this season and the week ahead.
“We had another guy in our team take a fair chunk of the salary cap for the past few years anyway so it’s not too much different for us,” Mannah joked.
“It’s obviously a great signing for us but we aren’t looking too far ahead.”
“Its going to be great for us next year but at the moment we have a job to do this week.”