Mataora leads by example
Sam Mataora says the Newcastle Knights strive for a consistent display of intensity against the Melbourne Storm on Saturday at AAMI Park.
That being so, he considers it a duty to lead by example in setting the standard this weekend with the starting prop’s track record boasting two tries as well as the accolade of Players’ Player for Round 2 and 5 so far this season.
“We got off to a good start on the weekend but think we just lost our way in the second half,” he said about the Knights' Easter Monday loss to the New Zealand Warriors.
“I reckon if we had the same second half I think we have been better."
While his charging carries and 100 per cent tackle accuracy weren’t enough to sway Monday’s match result, crossing the line for his second try of the season was definitely a sweetener.
“I was surprised when I got through,” he said about the effort that saw him twist through a number of defenders and power almost 10 meters to ground the ball.
“It was a dream that I scored, so I was pretty happy.”
Mataora admits lapses in defence cost the Knights, but assured it has been a major area of attention in preparation for Saturday night’s clash.
“I think we made it hard for ourselves,” he said.
“That’s what we took out from the video yesterday, if we tackle as a team it makes it easier.
“They have a good pack so we aim to stick it out for the whole 80 minutes.
“If we do that I reckon we will come away with the win.”
The return of Sione Mata’utia from suspension will also provide additional flair for the red and blue.
“He has good aggression and is always looking for something to do to create something special,” he said.
“I can’t wait for him to get back on the field.”
At the age of 25, Mataora belongs to the more senior segment of a youthful Knights squad.
Accordingly, he’s filled the shoes of a leader in the Knights pack with the additions of newcomers Daniel and Jacob Saifiti providing the opportunity to offer support guidance.
One advantage of the extended period on the road has provided more time for teammates to spend time together and get to know each other.
“A lot of the players have come through the last couple of weeks so we are getting to know each other better,” he said.
“The Saifiti boys are some teammates I’ve enjoyed getting to know more.”