Dyldam Parramatta Eels forward David Gower says the Eels will be looking to finish the year with plenty of pride, passion and for the Blue and Gold Army before heading into the preseason with plenty of confidence after coming away with a gritty, grinding win over the Sea Eagles.
Ahead of their clash against the Sharks this weekend, Gower said it was good for the Eels to get the two points at Brookvale Oval in a scrappy affair where the Blue and Gold showed plenty of intent, desire and commitment.
“Brookie is obviously a tough place to go and it was a scrappy game towards the end but I thought we put a good first half performance in and got out to a little lead,” Gower said.
“In the scrappy conditions we probably could have done a little bit better, but in saying that, our intent, our desire and our commitment for each other was there for the entire 80 minutes and that’s something at times we have lacked.” Gower added.
This weekend’s Round 25 clash against the Sharks will be the third annual Johnny Mannah Cup, in honour of the late Johnny Mannah, who was a member of both the Eels and Sharks NRL clubs and Gower said it will be an important occasion for the Blue and Gold.
“The Mannah family obviously means a lot to the club,” Gower said.
“Timmy and Johnny mean a lot to the boys and the staff here so we are looking forward to going out there and really putting in for the Mannah family by playing with a lot of pride and passion and everything that Johnny stood for as a player and as a person.”
Gower expects the clash to be a tough battle of the forwards, however he believes that is where the Blue and Gold strength lies.
“Our strength too is our forwards so we are looking forward to that battle. We have a lot to play for,” Gower said.
“We are playing for pride, passion and for our fans and hopefully the Blue and Gold army can get out there in numbers and help us finish this season off strong.”
12 months ago, the Eels sat outside the eight and were fighting to secure their spot in the Finals series, and Gower reflected on the bitter taste left in his mouth, vowing he did not want that to happen again in the final two rounds of this season.
“Last year we had a really good chance to make the eight but we imploded a little bit the last two rounds,” Gower said.
“That left a bitter taste in a lot of guys mouths heading into the whole preseason.”
“It’s a long summer when you have a lot of regret and we are focused on improving the last two games this year, finishing off strong and going into the preseason with confidence and really building towards 2016.”
And with plenty of media hype around former Eels player Jarryd Hayne’s impact in the NFL trials with the San Franciso 49ers, Gower said he was not surprised to see Hayne succeed.
“I don’t think it’s a real surprise to anyone that knew him and the talent that he was. We are very happy for him at the moment,” Gower said.
“It’s great to see him succeed and be successful in something he is really passionate about.”
“Jarryd as an athlete is suited to that game more so than rugby league. He is a power based explosive athlete and watching him succeed is not a surprise to me.” Gower added.