Blasted for his inconsistencies at the start of the season, the now in-form back-rower Feleti Mateo, is in the box seat to extend his deal with the New Zealand Warriors, beyond the 2013 NRL season.
Whilst they will need to bring out the chequebook to do so, the Warriors are helped by the fact that Mateo himself, wants to remain at the club beyond next year.
With the club’s owners in Eric Watson and Owen Glenn watching last week’s game, Mateo had one of his best games of the year – timing it well to coincide with the owners watching.
“I’ve been dropping hints to Eric. It was last week at a function and it was in front of everyone,” Mateo joked.
“But I’ve told Bluey [Warriors coach Brian McClennan] and the club that I’d like to stay. It’s been talked about briefly but we’ve had no official meetings or anything like that. I’ve also briefly spoken with my manager and there’s nothing on the table yet.”
Wayne Scurrah, Warriors Chief Executive, said that whilst it is still early days for contract talks, the club would like to retain Mateo.
“We have not presented anything formal to him, at this point in time”, Scurrah said.
“But Feleti is certainly a well-regarded member of the club”.
With the decision likely to come down to the Warriors offer, they are also helped by the fact that Mateo’s fiance Michelle, works in the club’s office, as their Sponsorship Coordinator.
“I have definitely made a home here in Auckland, both on and off the field,” Mateo said.
“I am engaged, and my fiancee and I are getting married over the break”.
“But there are a lot of factors that come into play when it comes signing a contract, and deciding whether I want to go or stay. I am obviously from Sydney, and at one stage, I do want to go back home… but if the price is right and things are going well, I would definitely put my hand up to stay”.
“I love this club, and I think the Warriors are going places with the young talent that they have.