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NRL mourning loss of a favourite son as cancer claims Mannah

Jon Mannah warming up for his return game for Cronulla against Balmain Ryde. Click for more photos

RIP Jon Mannah

The rugby league world mourns the passing of Jon Mannah. Photo: Anthony Johnson

HE WAS a gentleman.

You talk to anyone about Jon Mannah and that's the first thing they say about the man who has touched the rugby league world through his brave three-and-a-half year battle with cancer that ended on Friday morning. A family man first, footballer second.

The gentle giant of league who, if not plagued by Hodgkin's lymphoma, would've achieved more than just 24 NRL games throughout a brief and interrupted career.

Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan paid tribute to Mannah, 23, by declaring the club a better place for having called him one of their own.

Mannah was highly regarded by those at Cronulla and had more impact on the club than his two dozen games between 2009 to 2011 would suggest.

A devastated Flanagan said the club was in mourning following the loss of the former Cronulla prop, but highlighted his bravery throughout the tough ordeal he confronted in his battle with Hodgkin's lymphoma.

''Everyone here at the Sharks are better for knowing Jonny Mannah,'' Flanagan said. ''The club and a lot of the players are better off for having known such a gentleman. We didn't really know about what he was going through because he was just so tough and he never really showed any signs of 'poor me'. He was always respectful.

''After his 'chemo' and treatment I remember this one time we actually went to the Children's Hospital and he was handing out gifts when he was going through his own battle. He never wanted people to feel sorry for him. He was such a tough person but such a gentleman.''

Former Eels trainer Craig Catterick, who watched him develop from the Harold Matthews Cup ranks, was full of praise for the way Mannah applied himself to his rugby league commitments.

Even when he had every reason to slacken off or give up, he would work twice as hard. ''Everything about Jonny was inspirational,'' Catterick said. ''He did everything ever asked of him. He was always on time, always positive, was always a gentleman and a good footballer. He was everything you'd want from a person at a club.

''Apart from the hair loss, you wouldn't have known what he was going through if you didn't know him. Even when he dropped his weight you would've thought 'gee, he's looking fit'. Apart from his diminished hair you wouldn't have known what he'd been through because he's that kind of guy. He never showed a thing. He always said 'nah, mate, I'm all right - there are a lot of people worse off than me'.''

Tributes flowed for the much-loved role model of the game on various forms of social media. Many NRL players took to Twitter to express their sympathy to the Mannah family and pay tribute to their friend (see opposite page).

The Parramatta Eels released a statement on Friday afternoon passing on their condolences to the Mannah family. ''Jon was a Parramatta junior, extremely popular among his teammates and his brave battle with Hodgkin's lymphoma touched us all. He was just 23,'' the statement said.

Parramatta chairman Roy Spagnolo said: ''It's tragic in any case to lose a young life, but it's even more difficult when it's one of our own.''

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PEN 30 vs NEW 8 Report Stats
MAN 22 vs MEL 23 Report Stats
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STG 44 vs WES 24 Report Stats
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Round 2
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MEL 18 vs PEN 17 Report Stats
SYD 56 vs PAR 4 Report Stats
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GCT 12 vs WES 42 Report Stats
NEW 20 vs CAN 26 Report Stats
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Round 3
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WES 25 vs SOU 16 Report Stats
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PEN 18 vs BUL 16 Report Stats
CRO 12 vs STG 14 Report Stats
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MEL 28 vs NEW 20 Report Stats
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Round 4
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STG 20 vs BRI 36 Report Stats
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NZW 42 vs WES 18 Report Stats
PAR 32 vs PEN 16 Report Stats
BUL 40 vs MEL 12 Report Stats
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SOU 18 vs CAN 30 Report Stats
NEW 30 vs CRO Report Stats
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GCT 13 vs NQL 12 Report Stats
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Round 5
Fri, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
SYD 8 vs BUL 9 Report Stats
BRI 18 vs PAR 25 Report Stats
Sat, 05 AprTimes shown AEDT
CRO 37 vs NZW 6 Report Stats
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Round 6
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Round 7
Fri, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
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Round 8
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Round 9
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Round 10
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PAR 36 vs STG Report Stats
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Round 11
Fri, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
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Round 12
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BRI 36 vs MAN 10 Report Stats
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Round 13
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Round 14
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Round 15
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Round 16
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PAR 10 vs NEW 16 Report Stats
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Round 17
Fri, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
BUL 23 vs MAN 16 Report Stats
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STG 27 vs NQL 24 Report Stats
SYD 28 vs CRO 30 Report Stats
Sun, 06 JulTimes shown AEST
WES 10 vs PEN 26 Report Stats
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SOU 10 vs GCT 14 Report Stats
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Round 18
Fri, 11 JulTimes shown AEST
MAN 40 vs WES 8 Report Stats
Sat, 12 JulTimes shown AEST
NZW 48 vs PAR Report Stats
MEL 4 vs BUL 6 Report Stats
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GCT 20 vs CAN 36 Report Stats
CRO 18 vs NEW 31 Report Stats
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Round 19
Fri, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
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Round 20
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Round 21
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Round 22
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BRI 41 vs BUL 10 Report Stats
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Round 23
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PAR 16 vs BUL 18 Report Stats
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MEL 48 vs CRO 6 Report Stats
WES 4 vs SYD 48 Report Stats
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NEW 28 vs NZW 22 Report Stats
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Round 24
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BUL 30 vs WES 10 Stats
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PAR 22 vs MAN 12 Report Stats
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BRI 48 vs NEW 6 Report Stats
SOU 10 vs NQL 22 Report Stats
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STG 34 vs GCT 6 Stats
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Round 25
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BUL 14 vs SOU 21 Stats
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BRI 30 vs STG 22 Stats
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CAN 27 vs WES 12 Stats
SYD 24 vs MEL 12 Stats
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