Mateo lights it up again for Warriors
Three weeks ago Feleti Mateo lit up the Vodafone Warriors against Penrith and he was at it again with another virtuoso display in yesterday's 17th-round NRL victory over North Queensland at Mount Smart Stadium.by NRL
Three weeks ago Feleti Mateo lit up the Vodafone Warriors against Penrith and he was at it again with another virtuoso display in yesterday's 17th-round NRL victory over North Queensland at Mount Smart Stadium.
The performance netted him another players' player of the day award in front of a big crowd gathered at last night's post-match function at The Nation's Clubrooms at SKYCITY.
Mateo had been listed on the interchange bench when head coach Brian McClennan named his side on Tuesday but the ball-playing back rower was in the starting side yesterday in jersey No 17 - and immediately set about testing the Cowboys' defence.
His first stint couldn't have been more impressive.
He teased the Cowboys' line near halfway, put defenders in two minds and delivered a sweet pass out the back to the electric Shaun Johnson. The halfback skirted left and then exploded through defenders, linking with Ben Henry inside on his right shoulder for the opening try.
Mateo pierced the line again soon after, finding Kevin Locke in support for what seemed likely to be another try but his work was rewarded later in the half when he put Jacob Lillyman across with a sweet delivery for his second try of the season.
When Mateo was off the field the momentum had swung North Queensland's way somewhat, a run of possession consigning the Vodafone Warriors to defensive duties.
By the time he re-entered the fray in the second spell, the Vodafone Warriors were under some stress but Mateo's presence and the injection of fellow senior pros Nathan Friend and Lillyman for their second terms perked the side up.
''Feleti's first stint was very good and we had a lot of ball,'' said McClennan.
"We had him off the field at a time when we had to do a lot of the tackling. When he came back on he sparked it up a bit for us, as did Nathan Friend.
"I thought when Nathan came back on the field he was very good for us, too. A lot of it gets lost - he does a lot of work defensively that helps keep us tight around the ruck area.''
In all Mateo had 59 minutes on the field, handling the ball 27 times, making 142 metres from 13 runs, having a key hand in two tries (Henry's first and Lillyman's), making a line break, four tackle breaks and six off loads. On defence he made 17 tackles and missed just one.
At last night's post-match event at The Nation's Clubrooms at SKYCITY, seven Vodafone Warriors players were presented with their player of the day prize packs covering matches since the eighth round. The players of the day for the period were: Bill Tupou (Melbourne, April 25), Nathan Friend (Brisbane, May 05), Konrad Hurrell (Sydney Roosters, May 12), Simon Mannering (Wests Tigers, May 18), Ben Matulino (Melbourne, June 03), Feleti Mateo (Penrith, June 11), Jacob Lillyman (Cronulla, June 16) and Mateo (North Queensland, July 01).
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