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Matterson rides a wave of emotion into Freddy's best 17

Eels forward Ryan Matterson has learnt before not to get too excited about selection in an extended NSW squad until your spot in the 17 is made official.

It’s why he kept his call-up to the Blues on Sunday night relatively low-key with his family until he received confirmation he would make his State of Origin debut in the series opener.

Shown by Channel Nine’s Danika Mason the press release on Monday morning confirming his inclusion, Matterson was interviewed by shortly after and remained in a state of shock.

“This means... ” he said, before pausing.

"More to me... not only for me, but everyone who has ridden the wave with me, especially my mum, dad and brother.”

Matterson was part of Brad Fittler’s 2019 squad for two games as 18th man but never got on the field.

As much as extended Origin squad members are grateful to be part of such a massive campaign, the reality is for many it becomes a case of being so close, yet so far, from making your state debut.

“After the game in Canberra I was told I was part of the squad and while you are really happy to be here, it’s hard to get too excited because the last time I didn’t play,” Matterson said.

Ryan Matterson and James Tedesco pose after training during the 2019 series.
Ryan Matterson and James Tedesco pose after training during the 2019 series. ©Grant Trouville/NRL Photos

“You don’t want to tell your family you’re in when you’re not entirely sure. I just thought I was in the squad again until I saw my name in the 17 so I’m over the moon.

“I was 18th man twice in 2019 and just to be around the boys was an awesome experience. I brought that back to my club football around how I prepare and do things.

"Now I get my chance I’m happy. I’m really excited, blessed and grateful. I can't believe it."

A devout Christian with strong family values, Matterson credits the unwavering support of parents Paul and Sondra, and brother Dean, for getting him through some hard times.

The former City representative has overcome two serious concussions in recent years after heavy hits, including one in 2018 at the Roosters that saw him miss eight weeks of the season.

"I’m doing this for all the sacrifices my family have done for me, I’m a real family man and know nothing I can do will ever repay them," Matterson said.

Meanwhile, Matterson conceded his future at the Eels was “up in the air” with his role in Brad Arthur’s side changing in 2022.

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Matterson has been used off the bench for the past seven weeks but is looking for a permanent move to the lock role – either at the Eels or elsewhere – next season.

“It’s all up in the air at the moment but I’m enjoying my football,” Matterson said.

“As long as I’m on the footy field that’s the main thing. I don’t want to be sitting on the bench for too long, especially when it’s cold like the other day in Canberra.

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“I don’t think Parramatta have tabled an offer yet but I don’t want to get amongst that stuff.

“My manager is looking for the best club for me. It's a headache for him. It’s his job to get all the contracts in line and then I’ll make a decision.

"It’s a good position to be in. I know clubs are interested and it’s a good feeling. You want to be wanted."


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