SEA Eagles stalwart Steve Matai wants to take on a lead role in the rebuilding of the club where he has played for the past 11 years. After he recently signed a new contract, arguably the NRL’s most fearsome centre opened up about where he saw the club’s future. And while Manly has been hit by a tsunami of drama, Matai says the Sea Eagles have the solid foundations to weather the storm. “We still have our senior players – Killer (Jamie Lyon), Brett (Stewart), Matt Ballin and myself here for another few years,” he said. “If we can get the young boys to buy into the culture, we will be OK. We have a lot of Polynesian players here now and I want to be that player they look up to and they look to try and emulate.” Matai said when he joined the Sea Eagles as a 20-year-old in 2005 it was senior players Kylie Leuluai and John Hopoate who were a big help to him. “It was an easy transition for me so I try to take that and apply it to the new guys coming through,” he said. He was referring to young talent like Ligi Sao, Michael Chee Kam and Dumanis Lui. And while it is tough times at the Sea Eagles after four straight losses, Matai has seen the club fight through similar situations before. “In 2009, after winning the premiership in ’08, I think we lost the first five rounds,” he said. “I have been there before and I know what it takes to turn it around – we all just need to focus and have trust in each other and have faith in our defensive structures and attacking structures. “We just need to get some momentum going forward in the next few weeks and hopefully we can do that and carry it on through the second half of the year.” Matai hurt his neck in last Saturday’s defeat against Penrith but expects to take on the Bulldogs on Friday night at ANZ Stadium.