The Parramatta Eels 2018 season kicks off in just over one month’s time and Blue & Gold forward Tim Mannah is excited and looking forward to the season ahead.
Speaking at the FanFirst initiative launch yesterday (Monday 5 February), Mannah says that having a consistent core squad over the last couple of years has meant the Blue & Gold have benefited during the preseason.
“The preseason has been good. I think it has been handy, as this is Brad’s fifth year now, with every preseason we start at a higher base than the year before and obviously, we don’t have to learn the systems and structures because they have been there for a while so we are able to advance and bit quicker and jump a few steps every year.” Mannah said.
“As a team we are more mature and have learnt to shut out outside expectation and outside noise.” Mannah added.
“We just have to found the right balance and I think we have a really good balance of not worrying too much about what other people are saying. We have a lot of belief in that, in our team in what we can do, and we just want to get the season started to see how we go.”
The experienced forward welcomed fellow teammate Kane Evans to the side, with the towering prop adding some size to the Blue & Gold middle men.
"He's really handy for us," Mannah said of Evans.
"It's been well documented last year about our forward pack having one similar body shape.
"I think he'll add a different dimension. Along with Tony Williams as well he's a bit more of a taller, bigger body."
“We are really looking forward to having them in our team and it will really add to our squad in general.”
Mannah also had nothing but praise for Jarryd Hayne who has returned to the Blue & Gold with a committed and dedicated attitude.
"Jarryd's been good, his attitude's been unreal," Mannah said.
"I've played with him for many years and this is the most dedicated I've seen him to his training in terms of doing extra work in the gym, really having a crack on the field and when the footy is out, he just naturally does what he does.”
“He has been great this off-season and I am sure he is as excited as anyone else to get onto the field.”
Hayne has had a handful of off-field distractions of late, but Mannah says he has seen an unseen maturity in his close friend since returning to the Blue & Gold.
"There's a human side to (Hayne) as well," Mannah said.
"Anyone who goes through what he has in the last 12 months it has an effect at some point.
"He has done a good job though, whenever it comes to football and getting to work he switches into work mode and does a great job for us.
"If he is going through a fair bit, he hides it well and he's been doing a great job for us."