In the sheds: Round 24

Newcastle Knights Pete Mata’utia and Jacob Saifiti reflected on Saturday’s match against the Gold Coast Titans at Hunter Stadium in the sheds following the game. 

When the Titans capitalised on the Knights’ slow start and scored first points, young forward Jacob Saifiti said he was determined to make an impact off the bench. 

“For myself, I came out when the boys were in trouble,” he said.

“Daniel (Saifiti) and Mickey (Paea) and I were on the bench and we were talking to each other about how we had to go out there and change the game and I think we did that.

“I just wanted to go out there prove a point and lift the boys as the energy levels were pretty down.

“That’s why I went out there and tried to be aggressive and give the boys that boost.” 

Starting intensity has been an area the side has been determined to improve on each week.

“We said our start wasn’t good enough and we are too hot and cold at the moment,” he said. 

“We need to start well.” 

A positive for Saifiti was the fact the side lifted in the second half and created a number of opportunities in attack. 

“It was a bit too late when we were 20 points down," he said. 

“We were chucking the ball around looking for a miracle I guess you could say, but it didn’t really come our way.

“There are some positives that we can take out of the game, that we hung in there in the second half.” 

"Today’s game showed that when we (Jacob and Daniel) are on our game performing, we really can help the team.

"We will go into next week and will have some confidence out of that."

Meanwhile, Pete Mata’utia celebrated his 50th NRL game at Hunter Stadium on Saturday.

The eldest of the Mata’utia brothers at the Club was proud to achieve his milestone playing in the red and blue.

“I just love coming out and playing in front of our home fans and once again they were wonderful today and I really appreciate the support," he said.

 “I was just humbled to get one when I debuted and then you set yourself the next goal. 

“It was my goal when I was down in St George to rack up 50 games.

“Some one at this Club once told me, you’re not an actual NRL players until you play 50 games.” 

While Mata’utia was also disappointed in the way the Knights’ started the game, he believes the players continue to grow and learn with each game.  

“We are heading the right way,” he said. 

“I think we had seven line breaks and they only had five, we just needed to capitalise on that. 

“We just have to go back to the drawing board next week."

The Knights prepare for their final home game of the season on Sunday, Old Boys Day when they take on the South Sydney Rabbitohs. 

The match sees past players and officials converge on Hunter Stadium with the Club also farewelling departing players Jeremy Smith, James McManus and Robbie Rochow. 

“We need to give the fans a good game and send Jez (Jeremy Smith) off with a good one,” Mata'utia concluded.