Sharks and Eels to #CelebrateJohnny
The ledger stands at two wins for the Eels, one for the Sharks, but being the current holders the Cronulla side will be intent on retaining the Johnny Mannah Cup when the teams come face to face at Southern Cross Group Stadium on Saturday night.
A game given extra meaning due to the trophy struck in honour of the former Sharks and Eels player, the Johnny Mannah Cup holds special significance to those who played with or just knew the big, bustling, always smiling front row forward.
Johnny Mannah, brother of Eels Club Captain Tim, was a man with a big heart, and despite only playing 24 matches in the NRL, his impact as a person left a huge impression both the Sharks and Eels in his time at the two clubs.
In 2009 at just 19 years of age, Mannah debuted for the Cronulla Sharks and went on to play 12 matches that season.
However following scans on a cracked vertebrae during 2010, Jon was diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma. A determined and driven young man, he made his way back into the Cronulla first-grade squad, going on to play a dozen more NRL matches.
A Parramatta junior, Johnny made his way back to the Eels to join his brother for the 2012 season, but was unable to play alongside Tim in the NRL side as a result of his deteriorating health.
Sadly Johnny passed away in January of 2013 however such was his popularity his funeral became a celebration of his young life with over 1,000 in attendance, included amongst them former teammates from both Cronulla and Parramatta as well as a who’s who of the rugby league community.
In 2013 the Johnny Mannah Cup was instigated, with the Sharks and Eels agreeing to compete for the special piece of silverware at their first meeting each season.
The Eels were able to grind out a 13-6 victory in the first Johnny Mannah Cup match, with their co-captain Tim Mannah lifting the trophy in front of a home crowd at Pirtek Stadium.
They retained the Cup with a 20-point win in 2014, before the Sharks won the third staging of the event with an exciting 35-28 victory away from home in 2015.
On Saturday night at Southern Cross Group Stadium the teams again compete for the Johnny Mannah Cup, with both clubs proud to #celebratejohnny in honour of one of the genuine good guys of rugby league.
Johnny Mannah Cup
2015 - Sharks 35 - Eels 28 at Pirtek Stadium
2014 - Eels 32 - Sharks 12 at Remondis Stadium
2013 - Eels 13 - Sharks 6 at Parramatta Stadium