For a bloke who hasn't played fullback on a permanent basis for years, Matt Minto performed extremely well in his debut NRL match for the Newcastle Knights against the Canberra Raiders on Sunday.
Minto was also faced with the pressure of filling in for Australian and Queensland representative Darius Boyd, but the lad hailing from Rockhampton stepped up to prove he was more than capable of performing at the highest level.
In a solid first match, the former Mackay Cutters halfback played 80 minutes, made 22 carries for 47 metres with one line break and another line break assist.
As impressive as Minto was though, the 23-year-old has vowed to take his game to another level against the Storm in Melbourne on Monday night.
"There is definitely room for improvement," Minto said after recovery on Monday.
"But given it was my first game I was pretty happy.
"It’s probably two years since I’ve played fullback. I’ve played there in and out over the years, but to stay there it has been a while.
"So it was good to get back there and I enjoyed it.
"It was a bit of step up, but I really enjoyed it.
"I thought all the boys put in a really big effort and just the bounce of the ball wasn’t with us, but I was pretty proud for my first game."
Minto admitted he was nervous in the lead-up to the Canberra clash, but he got through with the support of family and some wise words from coach Wayne Bennett.
He says his uncle Scott Minto, the former Bronco who played 39 games at Brisbane under Bennett from 2002-06, was also helpful.
"My uncle always gives me advice," he says.
"He has played first grade under Wayne before and he just said it was just another game of footy and not to think about it and just go out there and play the way you do.
"Wayne also just said to play with depth and be smart and keep your eyes up and just enjoy it.
"I had my family down with me and they flew down from Rockhampton, so that sort of eased the nerves.
"But I was pretty confident before the game and just keen to get out there."
On the back of his debut match, Minto now has his sights set on the Storm and helping the Club get their first win for the 2014 season.
"It was disappointing to lose the first game and it’s two in a row now," he says.
"But that’s not to say that the boys’ effort wasn’t there, because I thought we tried really hard.
"It’s just the footy gods weren’t on our side and the bounce of the ball didn’t go our way, but we’ll be back at training tomorrow and building for next week.”
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