Benji Marshall may prefer a couple of extra days rest in a bid to overcome a hamstring injury but back-rower Ryan Matterson insists the Wests Tigers’ five-day turnaround leading into Friday’s clash with Penrith could be a blessing in disguise. As he was a Sydney Rooster last year when the Tigers Panthers rivalry heated up over coach Ivan Cleary’s future, Matterson won’t be caught up in the external hype before the joint venture’s grudge match against Penrith on Friday, a fixture pencilled in by many to watch before a ball was kicked this season.
But losses to both clubs on the weekend, particularly [the Wests Tigers’ 22-8 upset defeat to Canterbury , has the 24-year-old forward wanting to get back on the paddock as soon as possible.
“You can’t bog down on a loss with not much time in between the next game, it’s something I learnt at the Roosters,” Matterson told NRL.com.
"That’s the best thing about a short turnaround, the only thing is getting your body right for it. If you’re carrying niggling injuries you’ve got to sort them out first.
"But in the football world after a loss, a short turnaround is perfect. Matterson said the Tigers weren’t caught off guard by how well the Bulldogs played despite going into Sunday’s clash as heavy favourites.
“The first two games they lost they created so many opportunities but just couldn’t execute them,” Matterson said.
"They’re actually a very good side and throw a lot of shape at you. They’ve got footy in them and aren’t afraid to throw the ball.
"We knew that, we got off to a slow start and made too many errors. We wanted to come out and change that after half-time but pushed the passes earlier and didn’t handle it too well. They just ran away with it.
“If they execute like that they’ll win a lot more games than people think this year.”
The former Rooster found himself floating between positions throughout the contest to show off his versatility.
He shifted out to the centres in the first half with Mahe Fonua (HIA) off the field, set up the side’s first try for Luke Garner with a deft kick in-goal before finishing the game at five-eighth after Marshall’s injury.
“It was a bit of a throwback Sunday. It wasn’t ideal, you don’t go into a game thinking you’ll have to change positions if an injury hits but you certainly keep that option open,” he said.
“I ended up playing four different positions in that 80 minutes. A lot of people had to accommodate for the injuries we had. A good side can do that.”