Roosters face Matulino celebrating 150th game

SARAH HARVEY
Last updated 05:05 24/08/2014
Ben Matulino
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WARRIORS STAR: Ben Matulino.

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As Warriors player Ben Matulino runs onto the field today, he celebrates not only a personal milestone but becomes the first "junior" rugby league player to clock 150 games in the NRL.

Not that you would know it by talking to the man.

Matulino, 25, who grew up in Lower Hutt and played both rugby and league as a youngster, would prefer to live out of the limelight.

"It's just another game and I think we have got a bigger task on our hands if we want to be playing semifinals football. I enjoy playing in other people's milestones rather than my own," Matulino said at the team's training this week.

"When I played in Simon [Mannering's] 200th I obviously wanted to get the win for him, because he has achieved a lot at this club and he is our captain. I also got to play in Ruben Wiki and Steve Price's 300th games, so that was a special moment for them, but I felt like it was a special moment for myself as well."

Matulino, signed with the Warriors until the end of next year, debuted with the Auckland-based club in 2008 in the under-20s before moving up to the NRL for the back end of the season.

Since then he has also gone on to play 19 Tests for the Kiwis.

He becomes the 10th Warrior to have played in 150 games and the first product of the under-20s competition to reach the milestone across any club.

The fact he has reached this by just 25 is a testament to not only his skill, but also his fitness and drive. His 2014 season has been hampered by a minor knee injury but he had surgery and was back playing within a couple of weeks.

"I think the lack of injuries has helped. I haven't had any major ones. I think this year has been the most games I have missed, I think I have missed four games- so that's not too much. I don't know what to put it down to - I guess I have got to put it down to the trainers and the way they look after me.

"It's about challenging myself. Cappy (coach Andrew McFaddden) will always put a goal out for me every week, throughout the year, and for me it's just about challenging myself throughout the week."

Matulino has got about 15 family members up for the game against the Roosters, most of whom will be staying at his house, and was presented with his 150th jersey by his mother earlier in the week.

He has been named to start in the front row to try bolster the Warriors pack against the physicality of the Roosters pack.

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