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The game I circle: Tim Mannah

From the first time he ran out in the lime green, to when he donned a suit in sky blue, right up to the day he walked out on the Parramatta Eels, we've only known Ricky Stuart to be one thing: pretty damn competitive. 

And that's probably the reason why the bloke who shed blood for Stuart for the past 12 months is hesitant when talking about their first meeting with the ex-coach next season. 

But that doesn't mean he can avoid it. In fact, Eels skipper Tim Mannah says that in times like these, when blue and gold fans see red and reporters are jumping out of bushes looking for the first player to throw a hand grenade at their old mentor, there's really nothing you can but embrace it.

"To be honest, every game is always exciting and you want to play your best," Mannah says.  

"But there are some games where you have a bit extra to play for and it means a bit more. It's always exciting to be playing in a game that boys want to lift for. I've got no doubt that that week will definitely be a week that we'll be putting our best foot forward."

Parramatta have hardly enjoyed recent success over anybody in the past two years but, for the record, they've lost their past four against the Green Machine. And that includes an embarrassing shutout in their most recent clash in the nation's capital last July. 

Not that any of the Eels faithful will remember anything that happened back then, or anything before the events of last October, which is when some feisty little former halfback who promised the world left them entirely in the lurch. 

Mannah, unsurprisingly, says his teammates will do everything they can to beat the Raiders. But he'll be a little shocked if the loyal fans of the NRL's sleeping giant don't do the same.  

"We've got a pretty passionate supporter base and they're always enthusiastic," Mannah says. 

"So I'm sure they'll be right behind us and doing whatever they can to put Canberra off their game." 

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