Tim Mannah has seen the worst of times at his NRL club Parramatta.
So when the prop describes their 2018 season as one of the toughest in his time at the Eels, it should resonate loudly and clearly with their fans and everyone in their back office.
Over the last several years Parramatta have been plagued by more off-field problems than they can remember.
The salary cap scandal, players being warned not to consort with criminals, Corey Norman being stood down for a litany of offences, the high profile departures of Semi Radradra and Kieran Foran, just to name a few.
So when Mannah says the club has been through the ringer this year, he doesn’t say it lightly.
“It’s probably one of the toughest seasons I’ve been through,” Mannah said.
“In the past we’ve had tough seasons.
“But what made this year tougher was the expectation. The frustrating thing is we know what we’re capable of doing, we couldn’t play the kind of football we wanted to play.
“It definitely stings.”
The Eels finished a disappointing 2018 with a 44-10 thrashing at the hands of the Sydney Roosters on Saturday night.
With that defeat they collected the wooden spoon for the third time in seven years.
What hurts most for the Eels is that expectation has not matched reality.
They came into the year saddled with predictions they would challenge for the top four but fell in a heap under the spotlight.
“The feeling that we’re feeling right now, hopefully it’s more than enough motivation and drive to make sure it never happens again,” coach Brad Arthur said.
The club is finalising a top-down review of its football department, which is set to announce the findings over the next several weeks.
Club hierarchy are on record as saying that Arthur is safe.
He has enough runs on the board after guiding them through the salary cap saga of 2016 and taking them to the second week of the finals last year.
However as he comes off contract next year, he will need to lift the side out of the mire to earn an extension.
Asked why he was the man to lead the club into the future, Arthur said: “It’s been a very tough year this year but it hasn’t been smooth sailing for the five years that I’ve been here.
“Everyone’s working extremely hard and I know I’ve got the right staff and we know we’ve got the right playing group and the young fellas to come forward.”