The Parramatta Eels are preparing to take on the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks at ANZ Stadium on Saturday 24 March in the second game of the Sydney Double Header.
The clash will be for the Johnny Mannah Cup, an annual fixture that honours former Eels and Sharks player Jon Mannah, and supports the work of the Mannah Foundation, assisting young people from all walks of life.
Speaking ahead of the clash, Mannah says this weekend is always a special one for the Mannah family.
“The Mannah family, they love this weekend.” Mannah said.
“Every year they mark it in their calendar and they look forward to the Johnny Mannah Cup all year. They are pretty stoked where they get to have a night like this and celebrate Johnny.”
“I say it every year but the family is so grateful to both Clubs for they way they honour his legacy.” He added.
“All that aside, as great occasion as it is, myself personally and all the boys, we just want to focus on playing a good game.”
The Eels are coming off an embarrassing 54-0 defeat to the Sea Eagles last week, and Mannah did not make any excuses for their performance.
“It’s important that we move forward and let go of last week’s game but it is also important that we let a bit of that hurt linger a bit and use it as a bit of motivation this week.” Mannah said.
“Brad didn’t shy away from all the ugly stuff, and we went through it all and it wasn’t pleasant but to Brad’s credit he didn’t shy away from anything, we faced it and now we are focusing on the Sharks.”
“The heat wasn’t responsible for our performance. As a collective, we all went away from the little parts of our game that we pride ourselves on and we want to get that back quickly.” He added.
Despite the start to the season, Mannah says the side still have plenty of belief and confidence heading into the Sharks clash.
Both sides enter this clash without a win to start their season and Mannah says this week will be important to put in a performance they can be proud of.
“I have been playing long enough to know how quickly things can turn around. But they don’t just turn around on their own, you have to go out there and make things happen. We have to go out there and put in a performance we know we can do, and if we can do that, hopefully we can look back in a week or two and think it was a bad day put behind us.” Mannah said.
“Inside the playing group, we still have a lot of belief and a lot of confidence. We know what we can do and we know the team we have.” He added.
“The outside looking in, they are entitled to their thoughts and their opinions and the only way we can change that is by going out this week and putting in a performance we can be proud of.”
“We want to put in a performance our fans can be proud of. We felt like we let them down on the weekend, we were all embarrassed by how we performed.”
The Eels kick off against the Sharks for the Johnny Mannah Cup at ANZ Stadium on Saturday 24 March, kick off at 7:30pm. Click through to purchase your tickets to the clash.