As the Newcastle Knights focus on returning to winning ways, the emphasis has been on the intensity at training in the lead up to Sunday’s match against the Parramatta Eels.
“This week we wanted to come out with a strong session on Tuesday after Sunday and Monday off to freshen up,” 18-year-old Sione Mata’utia told the media on Wednesday.
“It’s tails up, heads down and work hard.
“This week we are going to be looking for a good game to get back on the winning streak.
“The quality of the session is always important to us.
“The boys have wanted to prove they can keep their spots.
“Especially when the whole squad is here including NSW Cup, it benefits everyone when there is a quality session.
“Everyone is there to prove a point and they know that not everyone has been performing."
The youngest of the three Mata’utia brothers at the Club has again been named on an extended interchange but says he’s always grateful for the opportunity to play in first grade.
“Getting some game time in the top grade is always good, especially at this age, I can’t complain,” he said.
“I still have to work my way through the team and will see what happens in the future.
“Going down a grade doesn’t mean anything to me, I still get to wear that Knights jumper with pride and play hard for it."
While the Knights are determined to rectify weaknesses in their game, the Australian test player believes the significant part of the team’s success is quality individual performances coming together.
“It’s sort of attitude, discipline and the one percenters and that’s only within yourself to fix,” he said.
“It’s up to you have to come to training with the right attitude and come to game day with the right attitude.
“We are feeling good for this weekend and can hopefully show we want to play for our team and each other."
The Knights and Eels arrive at Round 7 after back-to-back losses with both teams searching for the desired result at Hunter Stadium.
Mata’utia assured the side has a clear idea on where to focus come Sunday.
“They are a strong side and they beat the minor premiers and championship winners from last year,” he said.
“They can come out with a spring this week and I see they have their strike players in (Chris) Sandow and (Will) Hopoate and their forward pack is a big forward pack.
“We need to control the whole team overall.
“It’s going to be the same situation for both teams this week, it’s going to be a good game and they are both going to be looking for the win.”