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Kieran Foran has welcomed the return of star centre Steve Matai against a desperate Eels outfit fighting for their season on Friday night.

Matai, who missed last week’s win over the Gold Coast, is set to return from a shoulder injury sustained in Manly’s loss to South Sydney in round 22.

Foran made no secret of the fact that the side was tested without the destructive centre, despite claiming a nail-biting three-point victory over the Titans.

“He’s a massive part of our side,” Foran said. “I think everyone saw how much we struggled without him.  We lost him early against South Sydney and we are just not the same attacking side without him. 

“To have him back adds a whole new dimension to our game.”

Despite sitting outside the top-eight, Foran is well aware of the danger Parramatta pose as they fight to keep in touch with the top half of the competition.

“There’s nothing more dangerous than coming up against a desperate side,” he said.

“I think they’ve been playing really well, they’ve been completing good and they’ve got some dangerous players, so we’re going to have to be on our game if we are going to get the two points.”

Parramatta coach Brad Arthur played a massive role in Manly’s run to the grand final last year and Foran believes his time at the club could make life difficult on Friday night.

“Brad was very well respected when he was here as an assistant coach. Everyone held him in really high regard.” Foran said.

“He knows the ins and outs of everyone’s games here, which makes it even harder for us on Friday night.”

Despite winning five of their last six games, the New Zealand International still believes that his side must improve if they are to match it with the best teams come September.

“We probably have been off the last couple of weeks, even though we won on the weekend,” he said.

“We only completed at 66 per cent, that’s not going to be good enough come finals time. Hopefully we can turn that around this Friday and start to build some momentum in these last three games.”

Acknowledgement of Country

Manly Warringah Sea Eagles respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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