Parramatta club captain Tim Mannah is unlikely to make an early return from injury despite the sentiment of the annual Johnny Mannah Cup clash with Cronulla on Saturday.
The Eels prop hasn’t played since re-injuring his shoulder in the loss to Canterbury back in round five, having previously missed four games with the same issue earlier this season.
Mannah said on Tuesday that the shoulder had shown considerable improvement but he wouldn’t risk further aggravating the injury by returning too soon.
“To be honest, I haven’t tested it with any contact yet so I’ve got no idea,” he said.
“I came back a bit too early last time and we’re not going to make that same mistake this time. It’s definitely improved a lot over the last few weeks.”
The 28-year-old said the club’s medical staff will take a closer look at a possible comeback once the team reconvenes for training on Wednesday.
“I am getting closer. I’ve got a fair few hoops to jump through this week but we’ll test it out and see how we go through the week,” he said.
The two sides have contested the Johnny Mannah Cup every year since the death of Mannah’s brother in 2013.
“It’s definitely one that my family and I really enjoy and find pretty humbling,” Mannah said.
“But at the same time I just want to play footy.
“I’ve been out for a long time now and it gets really frustrating on the sidelines.
“So it doesn’t matter who we’re playing, I’ll be doing my best to get back anyway.”