By Mary Maidiotis
St George Illawarra Dragons centre Peter Mata’utia admits he is keen to continue playing his part ahead of the local derby clash against the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks at Jubilee Oval, Kogarah on Sunday.
The Samoa international was shifted from the wing to the three-quarters role in lieu of Dylan Farrell against the Canberra Raiders prior to the bye round and is prepared to take on the role again if required.
Mata’utia, 24, was additionally grateful to have the bye week off and concedes it was perfectly timed as a lot of his teammates were feeling battered and bruised.
The Bankstown Cougars junior is excited to be playing in the local derby against some former teammates but believes it will be a tough contest as always, against their cross-town rivals.
“The change from wing to centre was a big one, the major difference being the tackling, but it was good to get that game out of the way and I’m feeling better prepared this week,” said Mata’utia.
“Mary told me about the change for our last game early in the week which gave me the chance to train there, but at centre you’re tackling big guys and you’re no longer making that one tackle every game.
“Unfortunately Dylan missed out, he’s a great player and one of my good mates but that’s the good thing about our team, we’ve got great depth and whoever is selected will do the job.
“It was great to have the week off and spend some time with family up in Newcastle, but I also missed joining the boys at training.
“My body needed the rest as I missed our last week off due to representative footy, so this bye came at the right time, especially since there are a few injuries in the team, but we’ll be healthy for this week and we’re really looking forward to it.
“The local derby at Kogarah is the talk of the week, it’s all over social media and I can’t wait for it.
“Jack Bird and Gerard Beale are old teammates so I’m looking forward to going up against them and it’s sure to be a good contest.”
The Dragons are encouraging all Members and fans to wear “Red” for a Red V Red Out at Jubilee Oval on Sunday and will have “Get Red-y” stations equipped with face painting, airbrush tattoo artists and merchandise to assist our fans to get “Red-y” with prizes on offer for the best dressed.
The Dragons will also be holding a special Community Open Day at Jubilee Oval, Kogarah this Thursday where Red V Members and supporters alike are invited to watch the Dragons train at Kogarah between 5.00pm -7.00pm ahead of clash against the Sharks on Sunday.
There is a free sausage sizzle and activities for the kids as well as the opportunity for autographs and photos with the players on the field post training.