Whether it be incredible highs or the tough lows, 2019 had it all for Sione Mata’utia.
It was a year that had so much promise for the nib Newcastle Knights, who were fancied as top eight contenders before the season kicked off.
It’s a fact not lost on Mata’utia himself.
“I was definitely one of those guys at the start of the year thinking we were a really good shot, and it was going to be my first crack at finals footy so I was devastated,” Mata’utia said.
“In saying that we’ve had a lot of positives as well throughout the year, and it was the first time I’ve been a part of a team where we’ve had so many representative players as well, which is pretty cool to see.
“We’re better for it, for all the past stuff we’ve been through.”
Mata’utia has been a consistent performer for the club this season, earning five tries and eight line-breaks in his 21 appearances in first grade.
It’s a solid effort considering how many positions he’s been asked to cover throughout the year, the latest of which being centre.
“I’ve been enjoying my role playing a bit of centre, and enjoying my role playing a bit of middle as well,” he said.
“I think coming off the bench was a pretty cool experience and it was a different challenge trying to adapt to, and I was really enjoying that role as well.”
With a tough trip to Penrith looming, Mata’utia insists that even though the finals may be out of reach, the Knights have all the motivation they need to get the right result.
“There’s still something to play for, we’ve spoken about finishing as high as we can and going out and ending this year on a positive,” Mata’utia said.
“You put on that jersey and you play with your heart.
“This week’s just all about the love of footy and finishing as high as we can, if we win we’re possibly finishing ninth, so that’s a pretty good outlook on the ladder.
“If you love footy you just play, and you play to win.”