Dyldam Parramatta Eels club captain Tim Mannah says he’ll be fighting to return to the field as soon as possible from a fractured shoulder blade, not ruling out the possibility of running out the Eels against the Sharks on Saturday night.
The Blue and Gold take on the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks on Saturday in the annual Johnny Mannah Cup, and Mannah says he’s champing at the bit to get back to football.
“[This game is] definitely one that my family and I really enjoy and find pretty humbling,” Mannah said.
“But at the same time, I just want to play footy. It didn’t matter who we’re playing I’d be trying my best to get back. I’ve been out for a long time now, and it gets really frustrating on the sideline.”
“I’ve got a fair few hoops to jump through his week [with medical staff] but we’ll test it and see how we go. I haven’t tested it with any contact yet. I came back a bit too early last time, and we’re not going to make the same mistake this time.”
The Blue and Gold expect their winger, Semi Radradra, to line up against the Sharks in the Round 17 clash, as the Eels look to end an 11-game hot streak for Cronulla. The Parramatta winger has travelled to Fiji over the NRL bye, and is set to return to Eels training on Wednesday to prepare for the match.
“It’s a bit like that every time he goes back to Fiji, he comes back a couple of days late every time,” Mannah joked.
“He’s obviously got some things he’s working through, but as far as we’re concerned it’s business as usual; we expect him to be back tomorrow.”
“I’ve been in touch with Semi, and I respect him enough to give him time and space and let him work out what he needs to sort out. Conversations between me and Semi should remain private, but I’ve got no reason to think he won’t be here this week.”
“For us, we’ve got to prepare for a game so we can’t get too caught up in what time he gets back. I think they’ve (the Sharks) got a really balanced team and right across the park they’re really strong, so it’s going to be a really big challenge for us.”
“All 17 players have to perform ever week for us to be able to win games. The boys have been doing a great job recently, and we’ve got to keep doing the same job this week and the following weeks .”
The Eels kick off against the Sharks at 7.30pm on Saturday, July 2, at Southern Cross Group Stadium in the 2016 Johnny Mannah Cup.