Manu Ma'u powers through to provide a little leadership

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - MARCH 21:  Manu Ma'u of the Parramatta Eels passes the ball during the round three NRL match between the New Zealand Warriors and the Parramatta Eels at Mt Smart Stadium on March 21, 2015 in Auckland, New Zealand.  (Photo by Joel Ford/Getty Images) Manu Ma'u. Picture: getty Images
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - MARCH 21: Manu Ma'u of the Parramatta Eels passes the ball during the round three NRL match between the New Zealand Warriors and the Parramatta Eels at Mt Smart Stadium on March 21, 2015 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Joel Ford/Getty Images) Manu Ma'u. Picture: getty Images

In the first 18 months of his NRL career Manu Ma'u has let his football do the talking.

He has done that through big damaging runs, bone-crunching tackles and an uncanny knack to break the line.

Now, the 25-year-old has added another dimension to his game: his voice.

No longer the strong silent type, Ma'u has become more vocal on and off the field.

Almost a year to the day since Ma'u's season was cut short with a broken arm, the back-rower is reaping the rewards of six months of hard training improving all aspects of his game, including his vocal chords.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 09:  Eels player Manu Ma'u arrives to Pirtek Stadium on March 9, 2015 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Daniel Munoz/Fairfax Media)

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 09: Eels player Manu Ma'u arrives to Pirtek Stadium on March 9, 2015 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Munoz/Fairfax Media)

"Last year I was a bit star struck but I have worked hard on being more vocal and being more of a leader," he said.

"This is my second year, so it's time I did a bit more . . . I'm a naturally quiet person but in this game you have to talk.

"We have a great bunch of blokes here and I love going to training and hopefully I can lead by example and play good footy."

Ma'u joined fellow Eels players David Gower and Daniel Alvaro at Parramatta Mission last week to hand out scarves. For each scarf sold at the Monday night game against the Cowboys, the Eels will donate a scarf to the mission.

For Ma'u, who has come a long way since he served time for his role in a brawl while a member of an Auckland gang, it was a good chance to help raise awareness for Parramatta Mission's services for the homeless, people facing crisis and people living with mental illness.

He also wasn't short on a word praising recent debutant Alvaro.

"Dan was the best trainer in the pre-season and he deserves it; it was really good to see him run out for his debut," Ma'u said.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 21:  Manu Ma'u of the Eels is tackled during the NRL Trial Match between the Penrith Panthers and the Parramatta Eels at Sportingbet Stadium on February 21, 2015 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 21: Manu Ma'u of the Eels is tackled during the NRL Trial Match between the Penrith Panthers and the Parramatta Eels at Sportingbet Stadium on February 21, 2015 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

"He is one of many young guys coming through the ranks and that is a good sign."

The next couple of games loom as important ones if the blue and golds want to contend for the finals.

On Monday they play the Melbourne Storm minus their Origin stars followed by a game against the Dragons after their first bye.

It's a period the Eels have identified as a chance to string some wins together.

"We just need to back up our good performances. The effort is there; we just need to get the result," Ma'u said.

"Combination wise, on the left hand side hopefully we can string some games together.

"We have some injuries with Semi [Radradra] and Brad [Takairangi] so hopefully we can continue working with Corey [Norman] to produce some good plays."

That would give Ma'u something to talk about.

This story Manu Ma'u powers through to provide a little leadership first appeared on Parramatta Sun.

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