Kiwi centre Steve Matai is at risk of being cast in the ‘Justin Hodges’ mould as he struggles to curb his aggression and cry-wolf injury situation on the NRL field.
After accepting a 3 game suspension today by the NRL judiciary, fellow Kiwi panel member Darrell Williams went futher – offering Matai a severe caution and warning him he needs to change his style or risk even harsher punishment.
Matai is quickly going down a path similar to that of Justin Hodges. Both talented outside backs, with great footwork and an ability to find the try line – their skills are sometimesÂ nullified by their brain explosions.
Dumb decisions, such as gifting penalties, finding themselves in hot water with the judiciary and carrying on with antics on the field that alienates all but their most passionate supporters. Well, I am sure the Hodges and Matai familes cheer their boys on – but overall, you wouldn’t find too many that would sing their praises.
For Matai, not only is his skill undone by poor on-field decisions and agression – his need to ‘cry wolf’ with injury at least once in every single game is simply astounding. We’ve spoken about it at length, but again against the Eels on Monday Night – Matai was on the deck by half-time.
We’ve tried to contact Steve several times, butÂ our calls are never returned.
Hasler and the team at Manly need toÂ put a leash on Matai and quickly, as we saw only a fortnight ago – Matai’s attitude is even having an affect on Sea Eagles training. With the centre coming toÂ blows with Glen Stewart after a minor collision.
Matai needs to look at the career of Justin Hodges and decide whether he wants to go down that path.
Hodges isÂ a sublime Rugby League talent, but even Queenslanders who enjoy his skills will admit – Hodges is one of the dirtiest players in the game. He loves a facial massage on a tackled opponent, consistent sledging and borderline high shots.
It’s probably a dead-heat between Hodges and Gallen in the grubby department.
And if Matai doesn’tÂ curb his ways, he’llÂ be remembered in theÂ League Halls of Shame.