Steve Matai

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Barks

Reserve Grader
Mate…what a surprise. I remember after the tigers trial game that he missed I asked him how long until he’ll be back. He said “next week”…and I walked away thinking “geez, should I have bothered asking him that? I hope you grow another leg this year” cause I wasn’t sold on him. Apart from his well documented misreads in defence at times, he had a greatly improved year. His attack, especially midyear was awesome. I think maybe he moves to the backrow next year where the defence is tighter and he won’t have to make the decisions a centre has to. Some have stated fair points of how he may be caught out in defence in the forwards – and he will have to do some adjustments, but as long as he stays in the defensive line and not sprint up for a king hit., there will be less mistakes than what he experiences in the centres. Will he be used in centre, bench, wing or backrow? Give him a run at backrow and he’s depth for the backs when required.
 

DSM5

First Grader
Barks, I've been spouting this all year. Good luck. Team selections and positional placements are the coach's perogative. Don't think that the forward coach, Roach, will instill any smarts in Matai, Roach doesn't possess any to pass on..
 

Nutzcraw

Bencher
Steve Matai i will go to on record as saying the NRL's most improved player in 06. I think Steve has played himself into a starting centre spot in 07. I think Des may have told him, he had to put in or be booted with the arrival of Jamie Lyon and he has stepped up big time. Started the year with a few defensive mis-reads but has fixed that problem and is now a tough opponent to get passed. His most prized asset is definately the metres he makes out of dummy half. The metres he makes for the big forwards are absolutely priceless. I'm very happy with Steve Matai and look forward to seeing more of him in the Maroon and White and shall also keep an eye on him in the Black and White of the all blacks at the end of the year.

Only concern for me is his lack of ball playing... he is an outstanding runner of the ball but doesn't perhaps have the footy smarts to put his winger away. Hopefully he can work on this during the off season and if we see that improved Steve Matai could be around for a long time to come.
 

Jatz Crackers

First Grader
Cringe factor high early in the year with Mattai, but gotta give the kid credit, you could tell he dug right in and said to himself i will do whatever is needed to maintain my spot.

Just that "dont give up" attitude swayed me back to support him.

His attack is impressive (discipline issue aside). If you watch him he has great footowork in heavy traffic. Not unlike Bell. He also maintains body swivel strength throughout the tackle to dislodge defenders which i dont see in others in our team.

Still needs the reminders and hard working ethic in his defensive training but cant deny its improved greatly. Not convinced at all as yet about this move to back row business.

I would like to see him settle his attitude and focus his determination on learning from those around him. If he does he will be a very valuable player.

For 07 I am leaning towards a bench player with spark (decided not to say the word impact). But of course this all depends on the whole Lyon Travis MM trifecta deal.

From once were worryers to footloose and fancy free.

You have to admit. You all must love the line breaks.
 

Canteen Worker

First Grader
Matai has improved and made me eat my words more than once. I thought the loss of Alberts was going to be terminal.

He certainly made poor reads in defence but it seemed to improve as the year progressed. Against the Kiwis he was superb and in several other games his defence saved us. A huge improvement on the turnstile like performance in last year's semi. He seems to break tackles easily and makes good metres. I think he is a back rather than a forward. It will be interesting to see how we use him next year.
 

Chip and Chase

True Supporter
Staff member
Administrator
Premium Member
Tipping Member
One hot day doesn't make a summer. He finished the season well no doubt, and was a definite improver. However I still have pictures in my mind of some of his earlier efforts this year. He made some good decisions in defence in the semis to come up quick and shut down plays. It's a credit to him that he was marking two of the better centres going around in the NRL in the Newcastle and Dragons games and kept them both pretty quite.

One thing that he needs to work on is discipline. He is a hot head and gives away too many stupid penalties. I don't mind players with a bit of fire in their belly, but he has way too short a fuse. Opponents know that they can get a rise out of him with a bit of niggle and likely draw a penalty. There is too much of this rubbish in our team with the likes of Matai, Burns and Dunley.

I'm not sure what 2007 will hold for Matai, I can't see him moving to the backrow. Whether he gets a start in the centres will obviously depend on whether Lyon is going to be played at 5/8 or not. Let's hope he has a good Tri Nations and learns a bit from the experience. I'm not adverse to the idea of him and Bell in the centres with Lyon at stand off, if he steps up in Tests and proves he can make the leap to International Standard. Otherwise he will probably be a PL depth provider
 

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