Parramatta club captain Tim Mannah has credited the coaching staff for protecting the players from the off-field dramas, allowing them to focus solely on their performances on the park.
The embattled Eels are once again under investigation for more alleged breaches of the salary cap, including the manipulation of third party deals, which could lead to a reduction in competition points.
But the team proved the negative headlines weren’t a distraction after defending strongly in an impressive victory over defending premiers North Queensland on Saturday.
Mannah said the coaches were to thank for helping the team stay focussed on the field.
“We’ve had plenty of practice at it over the years (off-field dramas),” he said on Monday.
“We’re pretty protected here as a playing group. The coaching staff do a good job to protect us from what happens off the field, and we can just focus on preparing for footy and getting our heads around playing.”
Mannah, currently the longest-serving Eel, said there was no point in his teammates worrying about what could happen should the NRL come down hard on the club’s latest failures at boardroom level.
The Eels had only just avoided a four-premiership-points penalty for overspending in all four salary caps last year, but recent reports emerged that they could face a 10-point penalty for their alleged latest indiscretion.
“That’s something we can’t control as a playing group. Whether we’re on minus 10 or plus 20, for us our role and our job doesn’t change,” Mannah said.
“We’ve still got to prepare the best we can every week, every day at training, turn up to game day and play the best we can. That’s what we can control, and that’s what we will control.”
The former NSW State of Origin representative said his teammates had set the bar for the rest of the season with their defensive onslaught of the Cowboys, and challenged them to repeat it this weekend.
The improved Eels take on an undefeated Canterbury in a blockbuster clash on Friday night.
“It’s round two, and we want to make sure that we’re going to be consistent and putting in performances like that every single week,” he said.
“We’ve set the bar of where we want to put our effort and we want to make sure we just keep raising it every week.”