Each time Aku Uate takes the field, he’s one step closer to reaching the milestone of 100 tries for the Newcastle Knights.
As the side builds for its Round 5 match against St George Illawarra Dragons on Easter Saturday, the dazzling winger admits the achievement hasn’t been the first thing on his mind during games.
“I just found that out a couple of weeks ago,” he said.
“It’s always good to get 100 tries. The boys have been ripping me off all week.
While his century isn’t his single motivation, he expects it to be an incredibly proud moment when he does break the impressive record.
“To get 100 in front of the Knights’ fans means a lot to me and I give it all to the fans and those who watch every year in Newcastle.
If the Knights’ successful start to 2015 is to continue, it’s only a matter of time before the opportunity will arise for the Fijian International.
“Four from four is a great start to the season,” he said.
“The boys have been training well since the start of the pre-season.
“There’s a good vibe around training and everyone is happy.
“Hopefully we can keep that going.”
Uate believes much of the Knights’ advantage stems from the tireless work of its forward pack which gift valuable opportunities for the outside backs.
“The boys have been working hard in the middle. We have been working hard scoring tries and that’s what we work on everyday,” he said.
The squad’s depth and ability to adapt to change has been another aspect that impressed the 27-year-old.
With James McManus ruled out of last weekend’s game at the last minute, 18-year-old Sione Mata’utia stepped up to take his place on the opposite wing.
“Sione is really good. He’s been playing really well at fullback and for him to play 80 minutes on the wing. He did a great job,” Uate praised.
“He came in form Jimmy last minute and did a great job for us.
“A couple more rounds he might be getting a start.”
With the added motivation of the inaugural Alex Mckinnon Cup and the desire to continue the Knights winning streak, he anticipates this weekend’ s game with be a blockbuster for fans.
“If we can just play the way we have been playing the last four rounds, we’ll do it front of the home crowd and hopefully for Macca (Alex) as well,” he concluded.
Game day information
Saturday April 4 – Round 5 Alex McKinnon Cup
Newcastle Knights v St George Illawarra Dragons
Gates open: 5pm
Venue: Hunter Stadium