Mannah joy at finals return
Tim Mannah is delighted he'll get the chance to follow his 200th NRL appearance with a long-awaited finals campaign for the Eels.
Parramatta are looking a strong bet for a top-four finish, having won their last six games, with Brad Arthur's team having only lost once since Round 12 and now have a six-point cushion inside the top eight.
For co-captain Mannah, it will be the first time he's played in the finals since his debut campaign of 2009.
He's spent his entire career with the Eels and will reach the 200-game milestone when the club host Newcastle at ANZ Stadium on Friday.
"The buzz is starting to grow a bit and I love seeing the fans get excited about their footy," said the 29-year-old, who added it will be a huge honour for him to line up in his 200th game.
The former NSW representative said the excitement of a return to September football was building.
"My first year (in 2009) I remember thinking 'how good's this, we'll play Grand Finals every year!'." he said. "It's been eight years since so a long break between but I've got no problem with the fans getting excited, we're excited about our footy as well."
In their final four games of the regular season, Parramatta will take on three teams - the Knights, Gold Coast and South Sydney - who already know they won't make the top eight.
That means they'll start favourites in the run-in, and Mannah says the team need to embrace that while being careful not to underestimate their opponents.
"In the past we've been pretty poor at winning games we should win so I think it's important we understand that ok, there's going to be games that we are favourites," he added.
"But that doesn't mean we change our preparation or change the way we go into a game, we still have to turn up with the right attitude to get the job done."
Parramatta are 2/11 to beat the Knights, who are 83/20.
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