The Dyldam Parramatta Eels came away victorious from their Round 12 clash against the Penrith Panthers, and Blue and Gold captain Tim Mannah said the side was pleased to come away with the two points from the foot of the mountains after some heartbreaking losses over the past few weeks.
“It was good to get a bit of reward,” Mannah told Big Sports Breakfast on Monday 1 June.
“The effort has been there the last few weeks but we just had no reward for it so it has been a bit of relief to give the boys something to smile about.”
The Eels had suffered a golden point loss to the Warriors two weeks ago, followed by a two point loss to the Rabbitohs and Mannah discussed the Eels current positioning on the ladder, with just two victories separating the 15th placed Eels and the top eight.
“The last few weeks, a few of the results could have gone either way. If you win a couple of those ones, you are sitting somewhere completely different on the ladder,” Mannah said.
“I have no doubt the effort has been there and the ability is there is as well, so it’s really nice to get the win and more forward with a bit of confidence.”
However after claiming a hard fought victory in Penrith, Mannah said the Eels will gain plenty of confidence from the clash.
“I don’t know if it is confidence, or our ability to close off games, but the boys have been trying their butts off the last few weeks and all the work was there to win the game, we just didn’t have the right finish to them so it was nice to get the result there at Penrith,” Mannah said.
“The boys can now have a spring in their step and head into the next game with a bit more confidence.”
Mannah praised the Eels halves pairing of Corey Norman and Chris Sandow, who controlled the game well against the Panthers, with the latter earning Man of the Match honours.
“I thought Chris played really well. He was very controlled and didn’t try to overplay his hand. He just stuck to our game plan really good and I thought he and Corey Norman really steered the ship great.” Mannah said.
“He is the kind of player that is very instinctive and a lot of times that comes off but when it doesn’t come off, people definitely notice it as well,” Mannah said of Sandow’s form.
“He plays what he sees and that’s what makes him a special player but sometimes that lets him down as well.”
Mannah also praised Eels lock Anthony Watmough for his efforts on the field over the past few weeks with the forward playing 56 minutes for 124m and 30 tackles on Friday night against the Panthers.
“He has been a bit quieter than he wants to start the year but the last few weeks he has really come into his own,” Mannah said of Watmough.
“The last few weeks with what he has been doing is priceless. His work in defence and his talk and leadership out there has been really good and I think his last three games have been his best ones since he has been here” Mannah added.
The Eels have a ten-day turnaround in-between games where they will take on the in-form North Queensland Cowboys at Pirtek Stadium on Monday 8 June, and the third placed Cowboys will come into the clash with plenty of confidence as they aim for their 10 consecutive victory.
Looking towards the clash, Mannah said it will be a good challenge for the Blue and Gold.
“I saw them scrape home the other night and that’s a great sign of a team that is high on confidence. Even when they aren’t playing their best they are still getting the results they want,” Mannah said of the Eels Round 13 opponents.
“We have a really good challenge for us this week but I think the 10 day turnaround came at a really good time for us.”
“There are a few battered and bruised bodies over the past few weeks and its nice time to recover and get the body right for the next one.”
Tickets for the Eels v Cowboys Round 13 clash are now on sale. The Monday (8 June) clash will kick off at 7pm with the Eels showing their appreciation for the great work done in Junior Rugby League.