Competition - NRL Premiership Round - Round 03 Teams - Newcastle Knights V Canberra Raiders - 19th of March 2016 Venue - Hunter Stadium, Broadmeadow, Newcastle NSW Photographer - Paul Barkley

Knights embrace Canberra challenge

There is unlikely to be a more challenging away trip than to Canberra in the middle of winter, but Newcastle Knight Sione Mata’utia says the side is undeterred as they prepare for Sunday’s match at GIO Stadium.

“We just have to think simple. It’s going to be cold, it’s going to be hard, they are a really good team and we haven’t had the best record,” Mata'utia said on Thursday. 

“It’s always a tough one and I think we just have to get our heads around it’s going to be a really cold one."

Reflecting on last Saturday’s loss to the St George Illawarra Dragons he said the side has absorbed what went wrong and is keen to remedy its problem areas. 

“There were multiple things that went wrong and our ruck put their hands up and said things weren’t good enough,” he said.

“On our edges also, there wasn’t enough talk. 

“We just have to go again and have the same effort we’ve had in our good games this year and try hard and really compete to win.”

When in comes to the Raiders, Mata’utia says it will require a bold and gutsy effort to compete at GIO Stadium. 

“We have to aim up and have a good game against them,” he said.

“They have a massive forward pack that we have to match. They have been playing really well.

“We have to be strong in the ruck and stick to our team principles and hopefully we can get the win. 

“We have to have a strong start and if we do, we give ourselves every chance to win.” 

Mata’utia, who celebrated his 20th birthday on Saturday, is pleased with his personal progress.

“I’ve been putting my game down to competing every week and every game,” he said. 

“If I can compete and try hard, I give myself every chance to have a good game. 

“I like to see my effort being infectious for my other teammates.

“At the same time they need to work on their own games and worry about themselves.

“I have to put myself in a place where, if I am doing my best and come off the field happy, then I put my team in a better chance to win. 

“It’s been pretty solid the last couple of weeks but I just have to keep it simple and I think that’s really worked for me. 

“I just try to contribute as much as I can to the team.”