Skipper prepared for Manly danger men
nib Newcastle Knights captain Sione Mata’utia says everyone has a job to do against the Manly Sea Eagles on Friday, with the hosts boasting plenty of danger men across the park.
“The Trbojevic brothers, they are decent players and (Daley) Cherry-Evans,” said Mata’utia.
“Martin Taupau is a warrior with and without the ball, he’s a big body and is definitely a talented footballer.
“Their whole team is a package; there are a lot of good players that we’ll have to keep an eye on and definitely the right edge has been killing it lately.
“We have been talking about each individual player’s role, doing it right and how that is going to affect our team.”
Manly’s star fullback Tom Trbojevic is expected to return a fortnight early from a leg injury and the Knights have done their homework.
“We have prepared at training as if he is playing this week,” explained Mata’utia.
“Either him or Matt Wright, we will be prepared.”
The skipper is also looking forward to coming up against former teammate Akuila Uate.
“It is bittersweet seeing him playing good footy, but the bad thing is we’ve got to play him,” laughed Mata’utia.
“I am a close mate with Choccy (Akuila Uate) and I dare say he’s going to have a blinder and we’re going to have to try to control him.”
With the forecast set indicating a cold and rainy Friday night in Sydney, Mata’utia knows the team will have to stay on top of their ball control.
“It is going to be pretty crucial and our kicking game will have to be on point,” said the forward.
“It is going to be hard to move the ball so we’ll need to play the game through the middle.”
Mata’utia said the well-known rivalry between the two Clubs will ensure a passionate match for the Malcolm Reilly Trophy.
“It is going to be hard, we haven’t won there in a while but even better for the challenge,” Mata’utia smiled.
Meanwhile the Knights captain admits Aiden Guerra would be a good addition to the roster next year if he came to the Club.
“Aiden Guerra has got some Origin experience, some Australia experience and would definitely boost the team in that representative role,” stated Mata’utia.
“He would definitely be a leader if he does come but any experienced player coming to the Club in the future will hopefully help our young boys.”
In team news, Joe Wardle and Trent Hodkinson have dropped out of the squad, with Brendan Elliot moving into the centres.
The final team is confirmed at 5pm on Friday.