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This week, Mary Kaye looks back at the Blue and Gold Round 24 victory over the Manly Sea Eagles at Brookvale Oval and the upcoming third annual Johnny Mannah Cup against the Cronulla Sharks. You can catch up on Mary Kaye's blogs at Ladies who League here

You might call me spiteful, but I was feeling pretty good on Sunday afternoon after that committed effort from our boys in blue and gold. The Manly Sea Eagles are one of our fiercest rivals and to walk away with the win and knowing that our win will potentially put the Sea Eagles out of finals contention was very satisfying.

This week, it's time to come home.

I'm strongly encouraging everyone to head out to the game this Saturday to unite and help celebrate the life of and show our support for a tremendous young man, Jon Mannah.

You all know that Jon Mannah was the brother of our much loved Tim Mannah. He passed away on 18 January 2013 from Hodgkin’s lymphoma and on Saturday, the Parramatta Eels and the Cronulla Sharks will play for the Johnny Mannah cup in his honour.

This game was first played in 2013 in order to make sure that Jon's inspiration and passion for rugby league was not forgotten and continues long into the future.

Jon started his NRL career at the Cronulla Sharks where he played from seasons 2009-2011. In 2011 he came back to the Parramatta Eels to join his brother Tim, who the next year become captain.

Despite Jon's talent as a player, I don't want to focus on his short lived NRL career, but simply take some time to recognise the tremendous individual that he was.

Jon was first diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2009. His battle with this insidious disease lasted three and a half years. Following his diagnosis in 2009, Jon fought his way back to full fitness and even managed to play another 12 games for the Cronulla Sharks.

Despite the fight he showed in 2009, Jon had another relapse in 2011 while he was playing for the Wentworthville Magpies, finally losing his battle in January of 2013.

Everyone who met Jon (including myself on a number of occasions) was absolutely inspired by his tremendous joy for life and his courage as he continued to fight with dignity and grace.

He tackled his diagnosis with such a positive attitude and filled people with such joy, no matter his condition.

He was a true gentleman and a role model for our game and the NRL is a much sadder place without his fabulous smile.

So let's get out there and help cheer the blue and gold to victory.

I could not finish this post before mentioning one of the Eels favourite sons in Jarryd Hayne. I hope you have all been keeping an eye on his progress, but if you haven't been, the update is that he is nailing it.

In his game on Monday for the 49ers his stats were as follows - he returned three punts for 84 yards with his first punt return counting for 27 yards. He also had 8 carries for 54 yards.

I'm not going to pretend that I understand what any of that means, but my NFL friends inform me that our kid is doing pretty well. I could not be more delighted..

To me, Jarryd will always be our boy in blue and gold. It is so exciting to watch the rest of Australia and the United States fall in love with him too.

I may be asking Santa for a 49ers jersey for Christmas.


Acknowledgement of Country

Parramatta Eels respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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