Tag Archives: steve matai

Matai: Just Like Hodges?

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 sometimes  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, but our calls are never returned.

Hasler and the team at Manly need to 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 to 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 is 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’t curb his ways, he’ll be remembered in the League Halls of Shame.

Aus NZ Test: More Matai Drama

The antics of Steve Matai continued last night in the Australia vs New Zealand Rugby League Test, won by the Kangaroos 12-8 at AAMI Park Melbourne.

Much was said by Matai before this match, the Manly centre citing the need to ‘protect’ his team mate Keiran Foran in the heat of battle.

We’ve been following Matai for several weeks now, reporting on his habitual need to lay down injured at least once or twice in every single match he plays.

He didn’t take long to get up to his old tricks, Matai again going down after yet another seemingly innocuous tackle. So quick was Matai’s call to the trainers that it nearly beat his all-time injury record, a record set last season at Brookvale Oval – when Matai called for a trainer before a ball had been kicked, apparently getting a slight knock during the Sea Eagles warm-up.

What made it even more disturbing was that it was only Matai’s second touch of the ball, he took a standard hit-up and was tackled in regulation fashion, remaining on the turf until trainers arrived. The game was only minutes old and the Manly man was looking for a lay down.

This has been the case for much of Matai’s career, but despite the spotlight now being shone on the Kiwi representative at both club and International level for his unusually high on-field injury rate – he remains intent on staying down.

You could understand it if it was a major injury and required time off the field – but yet again, after Matai was seemingly seriously injured – he springs back to his feet and will throw himself into defence.

At one stage he pulled off a massive late hit on Billy Slater that cost his side a penalty. Certainly an usual move for someone with an apparent chronic or serious injury.

Come on Steve, what the hell is going on?

You weren’t staying down for a penalty this time, because the tackle was totally regulation. You weren’t seriously hurt, because you jumped to your feet soon after.

Is it a ploy to get a drink of water? Well scratch that idea, this was the second tackle of the game. You couldn’t be doing a decoy water call that early could you?

We’re dying to know Steve, please tell us? Oh we shouldn’t say dying, wouldn’t want to cry wolf now would we?