Mannah: The rivalry is real

Dyldam Parramatta Eels prop Tim Mannah is set to miss three weeks of competition with a fractured shoulder blade, but the club Captain says he’s more than confident the Eels’ depth will shine through in the Battle of the West on Sunday afternoon.

Mannah came from the field during the Eels’ Easter Monday win over the Wests Tigers and didn’t return, but the front-rower is philosophical about having to watch his side’s clash with the Penrith Panthers from the dugout. 

“I felt it when I did it straight away it was real sore and real painful,” Mannah said.

“It’s still pretty painful but they reckon it’ll settle down soon. If I was to tear a ligament or do the [rotator] cuff we’re looking at 6 months, I guess it you compare it to that, 3 weeks … I’ll take that.”

“No one wants to miss any games, so that’s a bit frustrating, especially when we’re going well and enjoying it.”

Blue and Gold second-rower Manu Ma’u had a Grade One Dangerous Contact charge overturned at the NRL judiciary on Wednesday night, leaving him free to play in the Round 5 clash, while prop Peni Terepo will be available for selection after a late withdrawal from the Eels’ Easter Monday game with hamstring tightness.

“The depth we have in this squad is really healthy,” Mannah said.

“Not only in the forwards, but across the park. Peni Terepo is back from injury this week, so he slots straight back in, and it’s great we can have Manu playing this week. He’s a real competitor and he’s a great player for us.”

“I was surprised that, even after they looked at the replay, they blew the penalty, because there wasn’t really much more he could do to let the head free and give him space without hurting him. I thought justice prevailed last night.”

Having grown up as a Parramatta junior, Mannah knows the rivalry between Parramatta and Penrith better than most, and warns that the Panthers will be even more menacing with the return of fullback Matt Moylan.

“I remember [the rivalry even] when we were 15, it’s always been there,” Mannah said.

“We’re two big clubs in Western Sydney, which is a heartland of rugby league, and it’s always a good challenge and a good test.”

“I didn’t know [Matt Moylan] was back this week, to be honest, I’m a bit out of touch! I think it’s pretty obvious how much he does in their team: he’s going to be another attacking weapon for them and another leader for them.”

“But for us, it’s more about what we can improve on and what we can be better at. Whether we’re playing Penrith, or any other team, our style of footy won’t change too much.”

“I still think our attack hasn’t clicked yet; I think we’ve got a lot more in us in attack. But as long as we can defend well, that’ll go a long way.”

The Eels kick off against the Panthers in the final Battle of the West before the redevelopment of Pirtek Stadium at 4pm on Sunday, April 3. Family General Admission tickets are just $40*, click through to secure your seats!