The Parramatta Eels have partnered with the Thomas Kelly Youth Foundation, the Wests Tigers and NRL to support the launch of Stay Kind Day, the Round 20 match at ANZ Stadium between the Eels and Wests Tigers, on Sunday 23rd July at ANZ Stadium.
The Eels and Wests Tigers players will wear special ‘Stay Kind’ jerseys for the clash, which will feature the Stay Kind branding on the front of the jersey, an initiative to raise awareness and prevention of suicide in honour of the Kelly family, who tragically lost two sons – Thomas and Stuart – four years apart.
Parraamtta Eels captain Tim Mannah was proud that the Eels players, and the Wests Tigers, are supporting the initiative.
“We’ve got an enormous amount of respect for the Kelly family and the way they’ve handled themselves through such a difficult time, and it’s just a huge credit to them.” Mannah said.
“To have this Stay Kind initiative, it’s great that we can get involved, that two teams can celebrate the day and really encourage people to understand it and want to get involved.”
“I think the two clubs have a great rivalry and a great history and whenever we play each other it’s a good game. So were hoping that we can have a big turnout, one for the game, but two to get behind this initiative and really support it.”
“It’s very brave, they were talking about how it’s only a couple of days after the one year anniversary of losing their son, which is a really big deal. The courage they’ve shown throughout everything that’s been thrown at them, it’s huge,” Mannah added.
“We’ve got a lot of respect for them and we’re really hoping that the fans and people, even if you don’t support the two teams, can really come and support the great initiative.”
Mannah knows the importance that he, the Wests Tigers and rugby league as a whole, can play in supporting important initiatives like Stay Kind Day.
“I think it’s the most pleasing thing about playing professional sport, not only rugby league, but sport in general can rally bring people together and bring the community together.”
“I’ve seen it first hand. I really think that when the Rugby League community decide to support something they do a great job of getting behind it. I really hope they can do the same thing with this great initiative.”
“I think people are being more aware of the amount of people that are struggling in silence. I think it’s a topic that’s been spoken of a lot more lately, it’s great that people like the Kelly’s are making a stand to speak about it and make sure that people are aware of how many people there really are suffering in silence.”
Apart from the Stay Kind Day initiative, Mannah expects seeing Blue & Gold Mitch Moses up against his former Club as another great draw card that will encourage Members and fans to attend the day.
“There’s another avenue to draw a bit of a crowd, it’s going to be great to have that aspect to it as well. There’s Mitchy playing against his old club, which is also another great draw card to a great initiative and a great day,” Mannah said.
“Not only is he very confident, he’s very professional as well. I think that the professional ones are the ones that don’t let the occasions really get to them. He’s done a great job, I feel like he’s been getting better and better every week.” Mannah added.
“I’ve got no doubt, although it may be a big game to him personally, I think he’s not going to let that get the better of him. He’s definitely the kind of kid that just go about his business and do a good job for us.”
“I think he’s been getting targeted his whole career, so I don’t think it’s anything new for him, he’s a tough kid and he definitely doesn’t shy away from doing the work he needs to do.” He added.
After two byes, the Eels sit within the Top Eight of the NRL ladder and Mannah knows the Blue & Gold still have plenty to improve.
The side wants to continually improve on each performance, week to week.
“We are in a decent position in terms of where we sit in the season, were definitely not getting complacent. We’ve got 7 really important games ahead of us before the regular season and we want to make sure we really attack them, Mannah said.
“I feel like every week we are getting good results and getting wins. But we still haven’t played the footy we know we can play. It’s disappointing, it also excites me, and we’ve got a lot of improvement in us.”
“I think we’ve definitely set little goals for ourselves, I think the last five week block was definitely a good one for us. We got the best results we can over the last few weeks. It’s great to have the bye now we can just reassess get away from footy for a bit, recover and come back ready to attack the last chunk of the season.” Mannah added.
“I don’t think when you have someone like Brad coaching us I don’t think anything’s ever good enough. We’ve still got a lot of improvement in terms of our footy performance.”
“We want to aim to continue to get better every week, and I feel like we are getting a little bit better every week. We just really want to reach our potential, I feel like if we keep chipping away we will get there.”