nib Newcastle Knights forward Sione Mata’utia will celebrate a milestone this weekend against the Cronulla Sharks.
At just 20 years of age, Mata’utia is set to play in his 50th match for the red and blue, at first oblivious to his accomplishment.
“I didn’t even know,” laughed Mata’utia.
“I’m going to have to tell my brother I’m not sure he knows.
“I got the opportunity to debut at such a young age so the milestone has come pretty early and I am pretty happy with that.
“Just to do it for the Knights, I’ve grown up in Newcastle, I’ve always wanted to play for them and I have a big passion for Newcastle.
“It’s giving me goosebumps…. it’s going to be awesome, I can’t wait.”
Thinking back, there was one memory with the Knights that has stuck in his mind.
“Definitely the debut with my brother,” smiled Mata’utia.
“Just to do it with a sibling of mine is really special and to have my mum fly back from overseas, that was a special moment and is something I’m always going to remember.”
The second rower admits it would be a privilege to continue his achievements with the Club.
“It would be fun to get to those milestones, those wonderful numbers of 100 or 150, they are definitely some milestones you want to reach,” Mata’utia explained.
“But you do have to think about how your body will cope.
“Ultimately it’s not up to me, it’s up to my body and how it feels and it would be good to get there but as the old cliché goes, ‘one game at a time’.”
As for future personal goals of his own, the Knights forward does have a few in mind.
“Origin, city country and also playing for my heritage, they are definitely goals I am trying to achieve and like everyone knows you’ve got to be playing some good Club footy to get there,” Mata’utia said.
“If I toss up some consistent footy, hopefully that comes off the back of it.
“There is definitely some good props and back rowers out there but if you’re playing your own game and you start thinking about your own game, I believe you give yourself every chance.”
Meanwhile Mata’utia has acknowledged it’s been tough following last week’s disappointing loss to the Penrith Panthers but now the side have turned their focus on what they can do this week.
“We’re a bit down after the game, a little bit dirty on ourselves but the good thing is we have another game this week to try and redeem our actions and what a great time to do it against the reigning premiers,” explained the Knights forward.
“It is definitely a challenge but an exciting one as well.”
He admits Cronulla are a very dangerous side to come up against.
“(James) Maloney, (Jack) Bird and they’ve got the experience of (Luke) Lewis and (Wade) Graham, then they’ve got (Andrew) Fifita and (Matt) Prior,” he said.
“Some old heads there in a team that knows how to win and play a full 80 so we definitely have a big challenge for us this weekend.”
“They have definitely engraved in our heads those last few losses, there were some big scores and we are definitely trying to redeem ourselves.”
The Knights take on the Sharks at Southern Cross Group Stadium this Saturday, kick-off is 3pm.