You have skipped the navigation, tab for page content
Eels prop Kane Evans.

Resurgent Eels prop Kane Evans is bracing for a huge test against Manly's all-international starting middle forwards in Parramatta's crunch clash at Lottoland on Sunday.

Manly and Parra have been two of the surprise packets of the season, with the traditional rivals level on 20 competition points and sitting fifth and sixth on the ladder.

There isn't a lot between the two sides but Manly's starting middle three – Jake Trbojevic, Martin Taupau and Addin Fonua-Blake – look to have the edge over blue and gold trio Kane Evans, Junior Paulo and Nathan Brown.

Evans credits a remodelled training regime and fresh focus for his form turnaround and hopes it helps him get an edge over Manly's vaunted pack on Sunday afternoon.

"This week's a massive one for us – it's obviously an important game with where we're at in the season," Evans told

"Their middles, they are the highest offloaders in the game. If we want to win we have to try and stop them offloading or defend it properly."

Sea Eagles v Eels - Round 18

After struggling for NRL action in his debut season at the Eels, Evans has enjoyed better fortunes in 2019.

After starting the first five games this year off the bench before being dropped, the Fiji international has had an impressive run in the starting team since his round 12 recall.

He has averaged 109 metres in that time, with 11 tackle busts and five offloads while making almost 20 tackles per game.

"It's been a roller coaster since last year; probably just being consistent in my training [is what helped]," he said.

Manly in the way of Eels' march up the ladder

"Last year I kept getting injured. Pre-season we changed it up, the training's been different this year to last year and it's helped me. I'm still not where I want to be but I'm getting better and more consistent in my game."

Evans believes the type of fitness the club has focused on in 2019 has suited him more.

"It's more off-the-ground stuff and more footy-relevant conditioning," he said. "Last year was a lot of long running.

"It was good probably for wingers but it showed in our game that it wasn't really that good for us [forwards] because you get fatigued through your tackling and getting off the ground stuff so we've been doing heaps this year, the most I've ever done in my life and it's helping my game.

"I can last a lot longer now, a lot stronger in the gym so I want to keep building on it."

Sea Eagles v Eels - Round 8, 1993

Halfback Mitch Moses praised his forward pack for his own impressive recent form and reserved special praise for the impact Evans had brought.

"Our forwards have been enormous. Kane Evans has been unbelievable since he's come into the team," Moses said.

"He's brought that different type of style to our front row, that different size. He's been outstanding.

"He definitely had a point to prove [after 2018]. It's a credit to him, he's put his head down, trained hard and got his spot back in the team and now he's cemented his spot and playing some real consistent footy at the moment."

Paulo welcomed the flourishing combination he has formed with Evans.

"I've really found a partner in Kane and likewise for him with me, we're just trying to string together good performances," Paulo told

"We've got a good combination going there and we knew how much we missed Browny at the start of the year.

Will Lottoland memories linger for in-form Eels?

"With him coming back it's like having another half as well who's controlling the middle and he showed that on the weekend playing a lot of second phase footy for us."

Parramatta are aiming to take two points away from an opponent's backyard for the first time since Penrith in round one and Paulo said he and his fellow middles would need to ensure a strong start for that to happen.

"A lot of their good footy has come off the back of their front-rowers and their middle playing good footy," Paulo said.

"Jake did a marvellous job in Origin and he's been putting in great performances all year. Off the back of Origin when you've got those players returning to a squad you really have to nullify the danger they bring as a forward pack."

Acknowledgement of Country

Parramatta Eels respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

Major Sponsor

Premier Partners

View All Partners