Jake Mamo has proved he is well suited to the Auckland Nines style of football after contributing a hat-trick the the Knights' victory over the St George Illawarra Dragons in the team's opening game of the 2015 competition.
“It was a really good win and everyone was working hard from the middle and our defense was really good and that made it really easy to score tries off the back of that,” the winger said in the sheds after the game.
Mamo was barely on the field a minute when he collected a well placed kick from Jarrod Mullen to score.
“I was just on there and Mullo gave me the eyes and I knew he was going to kick it so I just chased through,” he said.
“We really hadn’t trained for that at all, Mullen and Tyrone (Roberts) are good enough players to see and know when to do that."
The 20-year-old, who returns to Auckland after playing in the inaugural tournament says he felt more comfortable and better prepared the second time around.
“I didn’t feel as nervous as I did last year... I knew my role in the team so it was quite easy going into it,” he said.
Meanwhile, Chris Houston was thrilled to start the competition off on a positive note.
“It was quick out there as we expected,” Houston said.
“We were first game last year and there was a bit of the unexpected in the first run so now we definitely knew what to expect."
He was especially impressed with Mamo’s effort and believes the format is well suited to his playing style.
“That’s what the Nines are all about, giving young blokes an experience to play and showcase their skills,” he said.
“If they have a bit of footwork and pace, then there’s plenty of space out there.
The Knights face the Parramatta Eels in the second game of the day with both teams coming off the back of comfortable wins.
“I didn’t see their last game, but they were good last year and have plenty of big forwards there and a bit of pace, so we’ll have to control the ball well and kick well as well,” Houston added.