Parramatta Eels Co-captain Tim Mannah attended the NRL’s official 2017 Telstra Premiership Finals Series Launch at ANZ Stadium this morning (Monday 4 September).
With the eight captains gathering to officially launch the 2017 Finals Series, Mannah said with the side returning to the Finals for the first time since 2009, there was plenty of buzz around the Blue & Gold streets of Parramatta.
“I’m loving the buzz around town and they’ve been very patient throughout the eight years of no finals footy, they been so loyal and passionate and they’ve seen a lot happen during that time so I’m really excited for them as well,” Mannah said of the Blue & Gold fanbase.
“For us as a playing group we want to make sure we make them proud with the way we play and give them something to cheer about.”
The Blue & Gold are focused on making their own history in 2017, starting with their Qualifying Finals clash against the Melbourne Storm at AAMI Park on Saturday 9 September.
“We’ve got a lot of respect for our past players of the club, they’ve really set our club up in a great way,” Mannah said.
“But for us, our focus is on our performances this weekend and how we can play great. We want to create our own history as well and do the best we can to make our own statement about our own playing group.”
“Not so much of a drive but it’s definitely taught us a lot of lessons and I think the resilience of the playing group shown last year has really helped us in terms of the way we handle ourselves on and off the field this year.” Mannah added.
“There’s definitely some good lessons there for us to learn from and I’m sure the playing group will be better for it come the next few weeks.”
The Eels finished 4th on the NRL ladder, and Mannah says the side will be looking to make the most of their performance and opportunity over the next month.
“It’s a great opportunity, you fight hard to finish in the top four for a reason and we’re here now and it’s important we make the most of it,” Mannah said.
“We’re going to be doing everything we can to make sure we go down there and to do the best we can to get the job done.”
“I think if you’re not up for your game this week on both teams, if you can’t get up for this week you’ll never get up. It’s a big finals game of footy with a lot on offer so it’s definitely a game you should be motivated for no matter what,” he continued.
As for comments between the coaches over the last couple of days, Mannah refused to comment, rather focusing on his job on the field.
“I will let Craig and Brad fight that out but as a playing group we’re just focusing on ourselves and how we can play our best footy comes Saturday night,” Tim said.
“We don’t really read too much into it, you know it’s just probably better positioning on their behalf and making sure the refs are aware of a few things. But as a playing group it doesn’t really bother us.”
The Eels are the side with the longest running Premiership drought, and whilst media spoke of a fairytale finish, Mannah says the side is not worrying too far down the track, rather focusing on the in-form Melbourne Storm side this week.
“I think we can’t get too caught up into worrying about the fairy-tale at the end of the day you’ve got to get out there and play games of footy and win.”
“It’s all nice to have the story written there but that doesn’t get the job done, so we want to make sure we get out there and get the job done and perform our best every single week.”
“It’s a huge milestone the scary thing is I can see a lot more footy in him as well, his nowhere near done. It’s a huge achievement and one he should definitely be proud of,” Mannah added of Storm captain Cameron Smith record-breaking 356th NRL match this weekend.
Tickets are now on sale for Ticketed Club Members, while tickets for non-ticketed Club Members went on sale at 1pm today and for nrl.com Members will go on sale at 4pm today.
Finals Series tickets will be on sale to the general public from 10am tomorrow (Tuesday 5 September), go to: www.nrl.com/tickets.