Eels to blossom without favouritism burden - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Eels to blossom without favouritism burden

Joe Barton 05/11/2010 03:13:42 PM Comments (0)

Parramatta prop Tim Mannah says the Eels are ready to put a wasteful 2010 behind them and reload for next NRL season without the pressure of favouritism.

The Eels entered last season as heavy favourites to claim their first premiership in more than two decades, but struggled with the pressure and failed to even reach the finals.

But Mannah believes the painful memories of a disappointing year will motivate a rejuvenated lineup to greater glories in 2011.

"I think we obviously didn't achieve as much as we wanted to achieve," he told AAP.

"With the team we've got, we don't have any excuse to not make the finals.

"It was obviously a tough season but that's rugby league.

"Even last year when we made the made the grand final, we had a first half of the season which was actually really low so ... rugby league is full of surprise.

"Sometimes you have to go through the low to hit the high and I think a lot of us are going to be better off after last year, and have a bit more hunger and a bit more desire for 2011.

"We've got to be a hungry squad, from the oldest player to the youngest player we've got a lot of players that will want to be hungry to improve on their game."

Mannah said incoming coach Stephen Kearney had set the bar high, demanding results from the club's pre-season training which started this week.

And even though Kearney is away on Four Nations duty with New Zealand, with half the team travelling through country NSW educating school groups on leading healthy, active lifestyles, the ruthless training hasn't relented.

"We've crammed a lot into our three days here in the country," Mannah explained.

"We've visited five towns and talked to 13 schools about the `eat well, play well, stay well' message and we've been towelled up in three very solid training sessions as well.

"We only met Steve on Monday, but he made it really clear he wanted us to be more mentally and physically tough and that's what we want to do."

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