Mata'utia: It's like we won a grand final
nib Newcastle Knights co-captain Sione Mata’utia always knew the team had a win in them before the end of the season, and to make it three in a row is even more special.
“The first win against the Dragons, we were stoked and just tried to make it a snowball effect so we knew we had to play to our strengths and stick to the game plan,” said Mata’utia.
“We haven’t won for a long period of time and to get the first win, then the second and then the third, it’s like we won a grand final.
“It is another win that we can add to the books and be happy about.”
Sooner or later, Mata’utia says their hard work was bound to pay off.
“Leading up to the Dragons game, the boys were in some good form and Danny Levi and Mitch Barnett were playing some good footy,” explained Mata’utia.
“A win was bound to happen but it just happened with three in a row.
“We just started focusing on individual roles and as a team I think we’re moving forward definitely in confidence and belief.”
Sitting just outside the top four, the Parramatta Eels were a big challenge to overcome.
“We knew they were going to be a solid team and they’re in some form,” Mata’utia commented.
“They just missed out on the top four and it’s a team we’d expect to see in the finals, so to knock them off and get a win against them, it definitely boosts morale and confidence moving forward and it’s something we’ll take to the next pre-season.
“Bedsy (Danny Buderus) came in and gave us a little chat which brought back some memories and it was a little booster for the game so the boys were really keen and confident we could do a job down there.”
Mata’utia says they were able to match them from the start and keep intensity up for the entire 80 minutes.
“We spoke about them starting strong and we tried to match them, which I thought we did,” he said.
“We knew there was going to be a period where the tide turned, we just had to ride the wave for a bit and try and work the momentum back.
“The boys did really well to keep turning them away and our scramble defence was on point again.”
While the Knights are enjoying their three-win triumph, they’ll have to turn their focus to an encounter against the Melbourne Storm on Saturday.
“Another great challenge for all us young boys to try and jump over,” said the Knights forward.
“The boys are still trying to celebrate the win but everyone knows they are probably the benchmark of the NRL this year and for us it is a good challenge to see where we’re at.
“We will definitely build on the back of the win against Parramatta.”
The co-captain believes if they play their best footy on the day, they can beat anyone.
“We just need the whole 17 playing their best kind of footy and we could definitely beat Melbourne,” smiled Mata’utia.
The Knights are back at home this Saturday against the Storm, NYC kick off at 10.45pm before Reserve Grade at 12.40pm and NRL action starts at 3pm.