Sea Eagles centre Steve Matai has declared he won’t be changing his hostile approach when he lines up opposite Sonny Bill Williams on Monday night.
In fact the renowned Hitman is worried the game is going soft after copping a one-week suspension for what was lauded as a great shot by teammates and opposition alike.
“It’s obviously a contact game so we’re going to go in hard and it’s just a shame to see our physical sort of mentality’s gone a little bit,” Matai said.
But despite missing Manly's nail-biting win over the Dragons, which he had to watch from the change room because of nerves, Matai has no intention of softening his tackling style.
“The only opinion that matters to me are those of my teammates and my coaches," he said.
"They’re happy with the way I play so unless they tell me any different than I won't be changing things.”
The former New Zealand International couldn’t hide his excitement ahead of Monday night’s blockbuster against the red-hot Roosters when he confronted the media.
“I’m ready to play!” he said.
"They’ve (Roosters) been playing some good footy so it’s going to be a big challenge for us, but I’m sure we will be up to the task so it will be a tough game.”
Matai faces the daunting task of tackling one of the game's most destructive ball runners in Williams. The back-rower has certainly added another dimension to his game since returning from Rugby this season and will look to run riot down Manly’s left edge.
Stopping Williams is something that most players haven’t been able to achieve this season but Matai believes he can shut the Kiwi International down by limiting the time he has with ball in hand.
“I guess you’ve just got to go in hard. Try and get up and take away his thinking time and try and get the ball out of his hands quite early.
“If we can do that I’m sure we are in for a good game.”
While you may see Matai shooting out of the line to clobber Williams in his signature style, there's no malice between the pair, who went to school together in New Zealand.
But they do have a healthy respect for one another's ability and will no doubt relish the chance to compete.
“He’s just an athlete. He’s just one of those once in a lifetime kind of athletes,” Matai said.
“I marked him in my first year of NRL. He played in the centres and it was good to see because we’re good mates from back home, we went to school together and grew up back home."