The Dyldam Parramatta Eels will take on the St George Illawarra Dragons at Pirtek Stadium this Saturday (27 June) and Blue and Gold captain Tim Mannah said that despite the off-field media noise, the Eels are focused on their Round 16 opponents as they look for their first back to back wins of the season.
“Dragons are a good team, we did some video on them today and there is a reason why they are having such a good season,” Mannah said.
“They work really hard for each other so we have a tough assignment ahead of us on Saturday night. We really want to build on last weekend and turn that win into two wins.”
While the Eels hold a 5-9 record heading into Round 16, Mannah says that the side is remaining positive despite their position on the ladder.
“We haven’t had the best results the last few weeks, which has been frustrating because the effort has been there and the games have been there to be won,” Mannah said.
“But on the flipside, we are right there in the mix and a couple of more wins we are back on track.”
With news coverage surfacing on Monday around the status of five-eighth Kieran Foran’s contract with club, Mannah said the Blue and Gold players were not focused on the off-field stories.
“It is a bit of a surprise, and something we don’t really know too much about as players,” Mannah said.
“Obviously everyone knows how good Kieran is, and how much we want him at the club, but that’s for him and his manager to sort out. As players, we have to focus on preparing for a game against the Dragons this Saturday.”
“It will be a huge loss of energy to focus so much on it. For us, it is business as usual.” Mannah added.
“If we focus on what could happen, and what could happen next year, I feel like we are wasting a lot of energy we don’t need to be doing when we could be focused on playing footy and preparing well.”
Mannah said in the midst of rumours, his side was committed to their on-field preparation.
“When you see something like this out of the blue, the first thing is to be a bit sceptical,” Mannah said.
“We don’t know the full facts behind it and I think that’s the way it is.”
“Not everybody knows what the facts are so there’s no point of us playing the guessing game and wasting so much energy on figuring what’s going to happen or what could possibly happen.”
“We have signed some good players in the past, and we have signed some good players for next year. Beau Scott and Michael Gordon have also signed, but we don’t spend too much time thinking about next year and thinking about what’s coming in the future because we have a squad of players that want to be successful this year,” Mannah added.
Mannah is the longest-serving player at the Eels, debuting for the Blue and Gold in 2009, and the Captain remains philosophical about external distractions.
“The frustrating thing is we are spending time again focusing on things outside of footy,” Mannah said.
“It would be nice to just come here and talk about the positive result we had against Melbourne, the rest we had on the weekend and how fresh we are feeling now and how we are preparing to have a crack at getting back-to-back wins this week.”
“There is nothing as players we can do about that (changes in CEO). As players the only thing we can control is what we do on the footy field,” Mannah added.
“The second we start getting involved in trying to figure out what is happening over there, we take away energy of what we could be doing as players.”
“At the end of the day, we aren’t getting paid to keep the office and admin (administration) in line, that’s their job. For us, it’s about the footy field.”