Despite the recent form guides, the nib Newcastle Knights remain a mathematical chance of making the finals.
That’s all the motivation Sione Mata’tuia believes the side needs to make a push for a place in the top eight.
“There’s still fire in the belly for most of the boys that want to try to make the finals and if we’re still a chance, then we’ll take it with both hands and try to make the most of it,” Mata’utia said.
“This club deserves a finals appearance this year and after last week’s performance we’ve definitely still got fire in the belly.”
The Knights now require a win in all of their remaining games to place themselves in the frame for a place in the top eight, with 26 points shaping as the cut off for eighth spot.
Mata’utia said this is still what’s driving the players, with a result this weekend against North Queensland their priority.
“We have the main goal at the forefront of our minds and that’s making a finals appearance,” he said.
“What’s important now is winning next week and leading into the next four or five games to try and make it.
“We’ve just got to focus on what’s important and that’s winning this week and how we’re going to win it.”
Coming off the bench against Parramatta, Mata’utia claimed he was reasonably happy with his performance.
Still, the 23-year-old said he and the rest of the team were shattered with the result.
“It was very disappointing, all the players knew how big that game was… it definitely hurts because many of the boys at this club, especially the local players, haven’t been in a finals position,” he said.
“This is probably the closest we’ve been to a finals position since 2013, so it hurts so much that we just couldn’t come away with it for whatever reason.”