Opposing forward packs had better mind their Mannahs. Former Cronulla Sharks forward Jon Mannah has joined the Parramatta Eels in the hope of packing down beside big brother, NSW Origin star Tim, next season. Jon has returned to the Eels, the club he represented in the under-20s, on a one-year deal. It’s an opportunity for the 22-year-old to resume a career that appeared over when he was diagnosed with cancer in August 2009.
Having played against each other at NRL level once when the youngest sibling was at the Sharks, the pair are relishing the prospect of running out together in first grade.
”It’s always cool to play in the NRL but particularly against your little brother, it was pretty fun,” Tim said. ”It is a bit of a dream come true. Anyone who has brothers playing backyard footy thinks about how amazing it would be to play in the NRL together if you get a chance.”
Jon added: ”It’s great to have an opportunity here back where I started my footy.”
Jon resumed his footballing career with the Sharks after fighting back from Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Now in remission, he said he felt no lingering health problems. However, there have been times he thought he would never play again.
”Absolutely. In some of the early stages of the illness I wasn’t sure whether I’d be able to come back to footy,” Jon said.
Tim added: ”He was inspiring me when I was training every day, knowing what he was going through. He was always upbeat.”