Tim Mannah says the quality of Parramatta's new recruits can give Eels fans renewed hope in 2014. Credit: NRL Photos Copyright: NRL Photos
Parramatta captain Tim Mannah has been burnt too many times before to believe that another new year guarantees new results. And he won't blame Eels fans for feeling the same way, either.
"They have every right to go and feel that we're promising the same thing," Manna told NRL.com.
"As a player, I've felt the same way over the past two to three years and there wasn't much of a change. There was a new coach last year, but there wasn't much change to the playing roster or structure."
New faces both on and off the field, however, have given Mannah cause for optimism this summer. The 25-year-old reckons that former coach Ricky Stuart's decision to blow up the roster and add the likes of Will Hopoate, Nathan Peats, Corey Norman and Justin Hunt has given fans reasons to believe.
"He's been awesome. I couldn't ask anything more, athletically. He's been right on top of his diet, he's been training out of his skin." - Tim Mannah on Chris Sandow
"It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see the new squad we have and the fresh faces that have come into the squad, really making it a place that has a lot of ability and talent. That's the biggest difference," Mannah said.
"You can always come out and talk about how good your preparation has been, but at the end of the day, we've had a similar roster for the past 3-4 years.
"To be able to chuck in all these new faces – not only new faces, but quality, talented new faces – that excites me. You throw in the young players that have developed, a new and young CEO and a new and young coach...
"Scott Seward and Brad Arthur are very passionate about making this team successful not just in the next five years, but successful in 2014.
"We've got our expectations high for next year and we want to make sure we come out every week swinging and being competitive."
While plenty of focus has been on the new additions, Mannah has also been impressed with the return of troubled halfback Chris Sandow.
Sandow, 24, was given a leave of absence during late last season to address his gambling issues at a rehabilitation clinic, but has been training the house down since his return.
"He's been awesome. I couldn't ask anything more, athletically," Mannah said.
"He's been right on top of his diet, he's been training out of his skin, and he's been really enthusiastic. The challenge for Chrissy is making sure he maintains that because if he can stay on top of his game, there's no stopping Chrissy and no telling where he can go."
Sandow is expected to partner new recruit Corey Norman in the halves with another ex-Rabbitoh, Nathan Peats, at hooker.