Jonny Mannah set to make miraculous return

In what is a genuine underdog return, Johnny Mannah, the brother of Eels prop Tim Mannah, is set to make his return for the Cronulla Sharks in their trial match this Friday night.

Mannah, who has literally been to hell and back after being diagnosed with Lymphoma’s Disease which is a form of cancer, has had a long and at times painful recovery, but he has shown tremendous adversity to reach the stage in which he is at today, and that is, to play.

Mannah had played 8 games in his rookie season and showed plenty of promise, but it was in August of 2009 that changed all that, after he was diagnosed with the form of cancer, and it changed his life forever.

He was forced to undergo many bouts of chemotherapy to treat the cancer, and it took a toll on the 108kg giant, resulting in the loss of several kilos, as well as Mannah being bed-ridden for days on end as a result.

“In my head I always thought it would come,” Mannah said.

It was just a matter of time, so now that it’s only a few days away I’m just excited. It’s a bit of an achievement for me.”

It was a 12 month struggle, but Mannah did everything that he could to ensure that he reached the fitness and conditioning levels that he was at before the cancer struck.

Whilst the NRL told Cronulla to let Mannah go in light of his cancer, the Sharks refused, and for that, Jonny Mannah is forever indebted to the club for sticking by him during a tough period in his life.

“I really appreciate the support they showed me,” he said

“It makes me want to go out there and do my best to repay them. Although, I don’t think there’s much I can do to repay them, they’ve been that good to me. But I’ll be doing my best day in day out at training and on the footy field.”

For Sharks coach Shane Flanagan, he says that the miraculous recovery of Mannah, and his strong-willed nature to get through the traumatic experiences has been a true inspiration to all of Mannah’s team-mates at the Sharks.

“He doesn’t say a lot about his illness; a lot of the boys don’t know what he went through,” he said.

“But anyone who’s got family and friends who go through cancer and chemo, they know exactly how tough it is.”

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