Parramatta skipper Tim Mannah says the Eels’ self-belief never wavered during a mid-season stumble and they are confident they can play NRL finals football.
The Eels were flying before losing four matches in succession – the streak snapped last week with a win over Gold Coast.
Ranked 12th heading into their clash with Cronulla on Saturday at Remondis Stadium, Parramatta are still very much in the finals hunt, on the same ladder points as the seventh-placed Cowboys.
Mannah, who returned from a shoulder injury against the Titans, says the Eels remain tight thanks to Brad Arthur, who took over as head coach this season.
“We’ve got a really good coaching staff who instilled a lot of belief in us from the get-go,” Mannah said on Friday.
“They instilled that we’re capable of being a really good team and the boys have bought into that.
“Even though we lost those games, the boys haven’t lost the belief that we’re capable of winning more games.”
The Sharks are without skipper Paul Gallen, who is sidelined with a biceps injury, but showed their desperation to avoid the wooden spoon with a gritty two-point win over Penrith last round.
Despite their differing motivation for victory, Mannah said it wouldn’t be an easy match.
“The competition has showed that there are no guaranteed wins or easy games,” he said.
“Every team is a tough game and you need to turn up with the right attitude.”
Veteran Eels forward Fuifui Moimoi will mark his 200-game milestone against the Sharks but didn’t want to make a fuss in front of the media.
Mannah had a different story.
“He’s making sure all the boys put in a big effort for him. He sounds like he wants to be humble but he’s been reminding us to put in a big performance,” Mannah said.
“We couldn’t be more proud of the Fui. He’s a character who’s very well-loved amongst the team and the fans and I’m glad he gets this milestone.”