Mannah pumped for Origin debut

For the time being at least, Adam Sandler will have to wait.<br><br>It was a little after 7pm on Monday night that Tim Mannah finally received the phone call he had been dreaming of all day, but as luck would have it the New South Wales selection panel very nearly missed him. <br><br>“I was actually on my way out to go and watch a movie,” the 22-year-old told NRL.com of his shock State of Origin call-up this week.<br>&nbsp;<br>“I had been told that they usually give you a phone call during the day to let you know that you’ve made it and I was starting to think it was getting a bit late.<br>&nbsp;<br>“I was five minutes away from leaving the house when the phone call arrived.”<br><br>And so the movies were put on hold, but the smiles certainly weren’t.<br><br>“Everything just went crazy,” Mannah recalled after joining the Blues camp yesterday.<br><br> “The phone started ringing off the hook with friends and family.<br><br>“I didn’t get to see the movie in the end but that’s okay, I’ll just have to see it in a few weeks’ time.”<br><br>What a difference 12 months can make.<br><br>It was around this time last year that the Parramatta Eels began their remarkable surge from wooden-spoon contenders to grand finalists, but ask Mannah his most vivid memories of 2009 and he says he was thankful just to be there.<br><br>“I made my [first grade] debut in Round 1 and I really struggled there for a while,” he explained.<br><br>“There were probably a couple of times last year where the coach (Daniel Anderson) had every right to drop me.<br><br>“But luckily he stuck with me and put up with me for the rest of the year.<br><br>“Those big games at the end of the year really gave me a lot of confidence heading into this season that I could handle the big games.”<br><br>Mannah’s rise has been as sudden as it has impressive. One of only four Eels to play all 28 games for the club in 2009 (alongside Luke Burt, Matt Keating and Fuifui Moimoi), he came into the new season as the junior member of Parramatta’s high-profile front-row rotation, yet none have been as consistent as this Guilford junior.<br><br>“The coach has made it clear what my role is at the club so when I’m on the field I can just focus on doing my job the best that I can,” he said. “We’ve got a really good front-row rotation there and it has really helped my game.”<br><br>Mannah said he has taken inspiration this season from the efforts of Parramatta captain Nathan Cayless and fellow props Moimoi and Justin Poore.<br><br>“It’s great to play alongside those guys,” he said. “I’ve learned a bit from all of them, I think. <br><br>“They’ve all got their own attributes – Nathan Cayless is leadership, Fui is power and ‘Poorey’ is work ethic. <br><br>“I try to take a little bit from all three of them and if I can demonstrate those qualities I’ll be a good player, I guess.”<br><br>Mannah is one of four players making his State of Origin debut for NSW next Wednesday night and said he planned to make the most of the experience.<br><br>“I think just having my name in the mix this year was something that was pretty special,” he said. <br><br>“I wasn’t really worried whether I actually got picked or not this year, I was just happy to have my name in the mix. <br><br>“But it’s something I can take a lot of confidence out of, knowing that I was playing well enough for people to take notice.<br><br>“I can’t wait to get out there next week.”<br>