Newcastle Knights forward Sam Mataora says this weekend’s bye will allow valuable time for he and his teammates' bodies to rest before the side’s next encounter against the Melbourne Storm at Hunter Stadium.
Mataora played 55 minutes off the bench and was strong in attack gaining 141 metres in Sunday’s match against the Canberra Raiders at GIO Stadium.
The game, which spilled into golden point time, was clinched by Canberra in a 29-25 win despite a courageous and spirited effort by the men in red and blue right until the dying moments of the game.
“I think everyone is a bit sore,” he told Knights TV.
“I’m a bit sore and getting better each day.
“I think everyone is a bit down that we let that one go, we should have won.”
While disappointed with the desperately close result, he detects a new sense of confidence among the playing group linked to the return of a number of teammates from injury as well as the promising start to the game on Sunday.
“I think we have most of our players back and I reckon there is a confidence back with Robbie (Rochow) back and Pete (Mata'utia) and a few of the new boys,” he said.
“I reckon we are going into good form now and hopefully we can go through without any injuries.”
The team has reviewed the Round 17 match and have identified where the players will need to lift in order to shut down the Storm next Sunday on home turf.
“We have areas we need to work on. We did video today and some areas where we should have taken advantage of,” he said.
“I guess we are still learning, but we had a big lead during that first half and in the second half we were just trying to protect it and the Raiders boys just came hard in the second half.”
For Mataora, who carries a few minor niggles after the physically demanding game, he’ll be doing all he can to make sure he’s full fit and ready for the top four team.
“I’m trying to get all my injuries right…and I will come back on Monday and focus on the Storm.”