The Eels know that their play on the footy field for the most part this season, has been rather pedestrian – but for Eels prop Tim Mannah, he is sick of the unwanted criticism that halfback Chris Sandow has been receiving, especially in regards to his fitness levels.

Mannah is defending his side’s halfback, after former Eels half Peter Sterling, said that the club’s new halfback was at least 4-5 kilos overweight.

As a teammate it’s upsetting. I guess everyone’s entitled to their opinion but when you’re struggling and things aren’t going well people find everything to pick on,” Mannah said.

“If it’s not going to be Sandow, it’s going to be someone else that they’ll find something wrong with.

“It’s just a matter of us sticking together as a tight unit and getting through it.”

Ahead of their crucial clash with the Cronulla Sharks on Sunday, Mannah says that Sandow is 100% fit for the clash.

“He ripped in over the summer and trained just as hard as everyone else and we definitely back Chrissy to get us through games 100 per cent,” he said.

“I’ve got a lot of respect for Sterlo and he’s entitled to say whatever he likes, but as a teammate of Chrissy’s I back him 100 per cent to get a job done for us, and his fitness isn’t an issue for us.”

Eels coach Stephen Kearney refused to weigh into the debate, only saying that every week, the media and commentators picked a new scapegoat, and this week, it just happened to be Chris Sandow.

“It’s easy to pick on someone when the team’s not going so good,” he said.

“From Chrissy’s point of view in terms of form, he’s not there by himself … I don’t think anything was said the week before when we played OK … we all need to lift our efforts.”

On the point of fitness, Kearney has no problems with the way that Sandow has handled himself in that regard.

“It’s not an issue from our point of view, we need to perform better as a team and that’s everyone not just Chris,” he said.

By ricky

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