After coming away with the two points against the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles in the opening round of the 2017 NRL Telstra Premiership, Parramatta Eels new recruit Suaia Matagi says his strong performance in Round One was just him forward doing his job.
Reflecting on the week, the opportunity to pull on the Blue & Gold for the first time was honouring for Matagi.
“It was really good and I was honoured to get the opportunity to run out in the Blue & Gold.”
“To go there and get the two points, I couldn’t be happier.”
“The starting spot was was something I worked hard on, to get the opportunity I am really thankful to the coaching staff and I wanted to pay them back with the way I performed.” He added.
“It was the opportunity that the Eels presented. Sometimes one door closes, and another opens, and I’m really thankful for the Eels to give me this opportunity.”
Matagi had a physical encounter against hulking Manly forward Martin Taupau, often running at the Manly defence line with no sense of self-preservation without a swerve or a side step on his mind.
With several hit ups ending with a collision with Taupau, Matagi said the physicality was all part of the job.
“It’s part of the job, you just have to run hard and take your medicine if you get it,” Matagi said.
“Shoulder charge or not, I just had to carry on and do my job, get back up and play the ball.”
“I saw that was him, and I knew it was coming. I could see those big shoulders from a mile away!” he added.
“But that’s part of the game of rugby league. Sometimes you have to cop your medicine and take it and just go again.”
Matagi was humble with his efforts in Round One, saying he just does what he can to get the Eels on the front foot and inspire the rest of his team.
It’s just part of his job.
“The first carry is just part of the job as a forward. I just try and inspire the forwards and the team, and if it can help the team in any way I just do it.” Matagi said.
“I just try to do my job as best I can and inspire the boys.”
The Eels now turn their attention to the St. George Illawarra Dragons, their Round Two opponents on Sunday night.
“That’s always the goal, taking just one game at a time,” Matagi said.
“We are happy to get that win at Manly and now we just have to look forward to the Dragons.”
“They are coming off a good win against the Panthers, and knowing it is a home game, they will be hungry again.”
The Eels kick off against the Dragons on Sunday 12 March, kick off at WIN Stadium at 6:30pm.