The Cumberland Throw

Spotlight: Round 1 – Mannah Makes His Mark (Again!)

Early on in the pre-season, I posed the question “Mannah or Machine?”. Having watched Tim Mannah go about his preparations for a number of seasons, I thought I had a handle on his work ethic. This year, I reckon he took his training to a new level. Relentless would probably be an appropriate adjective.

Watching the Eels captain go through his paces at Saleyards would leave few in doubt about his drive, his leadership and his professionalism. After his first round performance at Lottoland on Sunday, and eight tough seasons wearing the blue and gold behind him, the former Origin forward certainly emphasised what he brings to the team.

A Huge Start To The Season

Much of the media coverage this week has focussed on Suaia Matagi’s blockbuster debut for the Eels, and rightly so. His charges into the Sea Eagles pack rattled the Lottoland stands and brought roars from the crowd and plaudits from the commentators. For Parramatta fans, the search for a new cult hero in the mould of Fuifui Moimoi looks to have finally found its mark. Personally, I wouldn’t limit Matagi to such a comparison as he offers a much higher work rate than Fui, along with subtle ball skills.

Suaia Matagi – what a debut!

Mannah’s contributions may have been overshadowed by the explosiveness of the new recuit’s crashes, but his statistics from the match warrant special mention.

It would be unusual to describe 51 minutes of an 80 minute game as indefatigable, yet in this period the Eels stalwart notched up a match high 173 running metres and completed 29 tackles. However, such an impressive number doesn’t tell the whole tale. Mannah’s renowned ability to achieve quick play the balls effectively adds more metres to his charges with the defence getting less time to set for the next play. On Sunday, it went a long way towards setting up the victory.

Winning that middle third of the field was vital in Parramatta’s game management at Brookie. With room to move, Eels halves Norman and Gutherson were afforded more time to organise the attack and execute their kicks. Indeed, whenever you see a dominant display from a half, it’s important to examine and acknowledge the efforts of the blokes in the engine room. Against the Sea Eagles, Mannah and Co certainly laid the platform.

New Skills

Coach, Brad Arthur is not interested in people who stagnate. When accepting the coveted Thornett Medal in 2015,Mannah himself credited the Eels mentor for an inspiring conversation prior to the season proper. He wanted Mannah to take his game to the next level and the burly prop obliged in a standout year.

Already this year, in the trials and the first round, supporters have witnessed newfound ball skills and changes to the way Mannah collides with the defence line. The adoption of a hit and spin in the hit-ups has seen tthe Eels veteran bounce out of tackles to either open up the opportunity for second phase play or land on his hands and knees for a quick play the ball.

The Season Ahead

Tim Mannah has been deservedly honoured with the team captaincy this year, a role he shares with noted hard-man Beau Scott. As a skipper he sets standards on and off the field, leading by example and encouragement. The big fella is one of the fittest players in the squad and exhorts effort and resilience from his team mates.

Charging into the ruck at training.

The addition of middle forwards such as Matagi, Brown and Vave will unburden Mannah from shouldering most of the responsibility of the team’s go forward. It doesn’t mean that he won’t lead the run metres, Sunday proved that. However, with powerful forwards joining him in the middle, defences will be challenged and weakened by the barrage of charges thrown at them for the entirety of the match. With opposition packs being put on the back foot, running metres well in excess of 100 metres for Mannah and his cohorts should be a regular occurrence.

Coach Brad Arthur values players who leave nothing in the tank. He’s acknowledged Mannah as a player who’s achieved success through hard work, pure and simple. You don’t get to your ninth season in the NRL by taking shortcuts. You don’t take your place in the middle of the field without being plenty tough. New recruit, Suaia Matagi singled out his fellow prop as a player he’s learned from since joining the Eels. Furthermore, Mannah is a wonderful ambassador for the club, something that will prove to be an asset for potential sponsors.

As the Parramatta club embarks on its Premiership campaign in an historic 70th year, who better to lead the team than a classy and tough local junior, under the coaching of a man who’s Parramatta to the core!

Eels forever!

Sixties

Images courtesy of the Parramatta Eels

 

 

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Manginina
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Manginina

Good read Sixties. Yes, Tim Mannah said “follow me” against Manly. Great stuff. I must say he has surprised me over the last 12 months or so. Really has taken his game to the next level and beyond.

Jack
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Jack

Fantastic read! All to humble is our mannah, doesn’t get the praise he deserves! I hope you tweet this write-up to him because you Eco the sentiments of how I feel about the big man! I like him a lot!

Craig Bridger
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Craig Bridger

Ive been singing Timmy’s praises for years. There’s a few on 1EE that put so much crap on him. For me, he has been the only prop for the last 8 years, who consistently makes 10 metres per run, quick play the ball & a real nice guy!!. Don’t recall him playing reggies in that 8 years either. We missed Normz last year when he was injured, but we also missed this bloke!

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Dont read the 1eyed eel then, you’ll learn nothing there but vilification and derision, you certainly won’t learn anything about football.

Colin Hussey
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Colin Hussey

60’s, I would love all Tim’s critics to read this article, even after Sundays Manly game they were in the main still at it, but progressively silenced by the old supporters of Tim and seemingly some new ones as well. I have seen some good eels forwards in the past especially some that are from the local area. think the bear, and hitman, along some others, but in retrospect I believe that Tim Mannah is in advance of them. LIkewise some great buys that were brought to the club and done good, but none have lasted or stayed that long… Read more »

Trouser Eel
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Trouser Eel

Tim’s been a great ambassador. His off the park efforts match those on the park. Great poise and very articulate.
I’d let him sign my car.

Achilles' Eel
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Achilles' Eel

Well said, Sixties. Tim deserves all the praise that comes his way. I think that he and Matagi might be our new Caylo and Fui.

Glenn
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Glenn

Stats can be a tad misleading as Tim does a lot of carries from kick offs but you cannot under-estimate his contribution to the team. A champion on and off the field and probably the first picked by BA each week.

Mitchy
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Mitchy

‘Winning that middle third of the field was vital in Parramatta’s game management at Brookie.’
That to me was the critical part of the game; as I thought Manly’s defence was not too bad at all; if we did not have Mannah and Matagi we could have struggled. Think people need to realise the work the forwards do in all games. People mention Hindmarsh in high regard and that is fine, but Mannah being a prop does the hard yards and then makes v effective tackles.

parra-matters
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He has been a unsung hero in our pack for a few years now, really gets the set off to a great start and as you said nearly always lands on his belly and gets a quick play the ball, look for French to follow him and look for a offload on his hit and spins. Starting to remind me of Nathan Cayless a bit, just need French to follow him like Brett Hodgson used to follow Cayless.

Rowdy
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Rowdy

Great write up of a great Parramatta man Sixties.

I approached Tim outside Pirtek prior to a game a couple of years ago just to introduce myself and to give him a personal message that I thought he would appreciate. Timmy’s Mannah (aptly named) was attentative, humble and respectful and appreciative. I was pleased but not surprised.

The on-field comparisons with Nathan Cayless are neither exaggerated or unwarranted. Fearless competitors and wonderful leaders both!

Craig Bridger
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Craig Bridger

And I noted as well guys, that Tim has tweeted his ‘like’ of this page on his feed. Another big one this week mate!!

John Eel
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John Eel

I thought our forwards led by Tim played really well on the weekend and laid the foundation for the win. Not considered for that game was Kenny Edwards, Vave and Peni Terepo. Given that all three maybe considered for the 17, there is a lot to look forward to this year. ni