Playing a part in the U18s NSW Origin side's 24-10 win brings great pride and honour for NYC Knight, Sione Mata’utia who said the team was inspired by Origin legend, Brad Fittler before Wednesday night’s game at ANZ Stadium.
“I’ve been looking forward to the game all week in camp and all the boys are pretty pumped to get the win today as a team,” he told Knights TV in the NSW sheds after the game.
“The win is awesome."
Mata’utia said his childhood idol stirred a sense of honour and a strong desire to win before the game.
He explained the surreal moment in the sheds and how he could not believe his eyes having 'Freddy' Fittler in front of him offering motivation.
“He gave us a speech and it was something we needed actually.
“He gave us a rev up and it was awesome because he’s been there and done that."
He said Fittler told the boys their efforts would influence the senior players in their game which made the win an extra special achievement for the young Knight.
Queensland was first with points on the board in the second minute, but NSW hit back soon after and dominated the game to secure a 12 point lead.
The young centre pinpoints Queensland’s first try as the catalyst that saw his team pick up the pace.
“Credit to them to score the first try.
“We sort of needed that to wake us up a bit,” he said.
“At the end of that we regrouped and got ourselves together and then we held it from there."
The 17-year-old said pulling on the Blues jersey and playing for his state in the Origin curtain raiser evokes great pride.
“Every time I put it on, it’s just a nerve racking experience.
“At the same time, I take it with a lot of pride and respect.
“Previous players that have worn this (jersey) are playing tonight,” he added.
“To put on this jersey again is always an honour."
His place in the Origin squad has also forged a unique bond between his NSW teammates after spending the week in camp together and earning the resounding triumph.
“We came in as mates at the camp and by the end of it we were brothers," he said.
“It was good to get it together.
"We were all overwhelmed and can’t explain the experience."
Mata’utia is now focused on the next challenge, the NYC Knights game against the Cowboys at Hunter Stadium on Monday night.
“I’m feeling good and I’m looking forward to backing up for the Club.
“My Club is my number one and I’m always looking forward to a game.”
Get your TICKET now and support your Newcastle Knights when they host the Cowboys at Hunter Stadium on Monday June 23. Gates open 4.30pm for NYC to kick off at 4.45pm before NRL at 7pm.