Just one week after becoming the 258th first grade Newcastle Knight, Sam Mataora braces to face his former Club, the Canberra Raider at Hunter Stadium on Saturday.
“It will be weird playing against the boys, but I think it will be fun,” Mataora said during the week.
“Hopefully I can do my job and that is to go forward.
“It will be my first game at home, for Newcastle, so it should be fun."
In Round 8 of the 2010 season Mataora made his debut for the Raiders before signing with the Knights midway through 2014.
Since then, Mataora has established himself as an explosive member of the NSW Cup Knights’ engine room and is regularly recognised by coach Matt Lantry as a standout performer.
It had been a long time between runs for the Cook Island World Cup representative, but it didn’t take him long to get back into the swing of first grade football.
“It was a bit quicker than the NSW Cup but it was good to get the run with first grade, it was awesome,” he said about last week’s match against the Warriors.
“It was the pace. It was a bit quicker, but when the second half came, I got into the groove.
“My goal was to just get into the groove of the game and to play well."
Mataora played 27 minutes in the Round 12 game and gained 61 metres in attack.
The 24-year-old also grabbed the opportunity to learn from the Knights’ regular first grade forwards.
“Although we had a couple of the boys out, we had Houso (Chris Houston) there and Stocky (Jack Stockwell) and they have been playing good for the Club,” he said.
Mataora now prepares to muscle up against the likes of Paul Vaughan, David Shillington, Josh Papalii and Shaun Fensom in the Raiders’ pack.
“Last week was just like every other game and I just had to my own preparation, and I think it worked,” he concluded.
If you plan to attend Saturday's game, check out the Round 13 game day information.