All or nothing in 2019 for off-contract Eels
PARRAMATTA players head into next year "playing for their dinner" according to veteran Tim Mannah.
Fresh from one of the most disastrous years in the club's history, the Eels have an unprecedented $7 million worth of off-contract players, with 20 of the clubs 28 contracted players unsigned beyond 2019.
Mannah is among those who face uncertain futures while the likes of Michael Jennings, Manu Ma'u, Daniel Alvaro, Clint Gutherson, Corey Norman and Mitchell Moses are also free agents.
Coach Brad Arthur is also without a deal beyond next year.
Mannah said the situation could work to the club's advantage.
"It's a different situation to what I've seen in the past," Mannah said.
"In a way it's helped us all that we're all on the same page and want to work hard for each other. Not a whole lot of the players through to the coaching staff have a contract (beyond next year).
"As a playing group it's forced us to all band together.
"It's not something you want to do every year, you don't want everyone playing for their dinner every year. But it's not a bad thing after the year we had. There is a lot more on the line.
"It's the unspoken (bond). Everyone knows the position we're in as a group."
The post-season review by Arthur is where the Eels let their wooden spoon season end. Mannah was still coming to terms with the club's failure after what promised to be such a successful season.
"The desire to be competitive and be good is there for every athlete but when you have a year like you do, there was a bit of embarrassment (so now there is a) want to prove people wrong and right a few wrongs," Mannah said.
"We are doing everything we can to improve.
"Last year was extremely difficult. At the start of the year I have never been so confident in having a successful year. I thought this was the best squad we had on paper in my career and the way we finished the season before (meant we had) a lot of reasons to be excited.
"It wasn't to be. That was disappointing and frustrating."
Mannah said he there had been a noticeable change in the group since they returned to training. It was highlighted by a training camp in Armidale earlier this month while Mannah has noticed a difference in Arthur's approach.
"He has been open to a few things a different things we've been trying," Mannah said.
"Whether it's the training techniques that haven't been the norm in the past.
"Everyone is trying to make sure we don't go the same way. Everyone had a look at themselves in the mirror. Players, performance staff, coaching staff and office staff are looking how to improve their department."