His team may not be performing as well as they would have liked so far this season, but for New Zealand Warriors prop Ben Matulino, his form for the club this year has been terrific – and it can all be attributed to his decision to have an alcohol free season.
Following in the footsteps of experienced team-mate and winger Manu Vatuvei, who also abstains from alcohol for the entire NRL season – Matulino said that it was a pact between he and Vatuvei, that made him come to this decision.
Matulino, who has played in 12 tests for the Kiwis, is currently in the form of his career – consistently averaging good metres and numbers for a hot and cold Warriors outfit this year.
For Matulino, he can tell the difference in his game already, evidenced by his consistent stats.
“This year, I’ve gone down Manu’s track a bit,” Matulino said.
“He’s not drinking for the year and I’ve decided to take on that challenge as well. That’s a big improvement for me from last year when I didn’t mind having a drink after the game. Our team isn’t going as well as we’d like so I think it’s a good idea that I stay away from the drink.
“It’s the first time I’ve done it and hopefully I can stay strong and make it all the way to the end of the season.”
Although he admits having to say no to an alcoholic beverage was difficult, he said there has been no urge to have a drink for weeks – with fellow team-mate Vatuvei, saying this is a sign as to how much Matulino has matured as a player.
“He’s been really awesome this season. He’s been a big factor in our forward pack and he and Russell Packer have been hammering it up and getting massive yards,” Vatuvei said.
“I spoke to him about what I did a few years ago and that I wanted to do it again this season.
“Two years ago, I decided not to drink for the whole season and it was something that worked really well for me. Last year, I went off it a bit but realised that the drinking is something I’ve got to sacrifice, especially for my family and this team.
“Benny wanted to jump on board with it this year and he’s been doing really well. I’m really happy for him. He’s matured so much and one day when he has his own family, he’ll probably realise how important this move is.”