Sione Mata’utia wary of Catalans’ biggest threat ahead of Grand Final

Sione Mata'utia of St Helens in action

St Helens forward Sione Mata’utia is wary of Catalans’ biggest threat ahead of the Super League Grand Final this Saturday.

Reigning champions Saints face the Dragons at Old Trafford this weekend as they aim to secure a three peat.

Sione Mata’utia says Catalans’ biggest threat is likely to come from veteran half-back James Maloney, who will be playing his last-ever Super League game.

On Maloney, Mata’utia said: “He’s a big-game player. He’s played in the biggest arenas and he knows what to do in those big games.

“He’s really difficult to defend against. It’s going to be a big job for the whole left edge.

“He plays with a short memory, he doesn’t let any errors get to him. He plays what’s in front of him.

“He’s just a genuine good footy player. I’ve played against him many times, he’s a talented player for sure and he’s still got it at his age.”

Grand Final glory, Challenge Cup heartache

Samoa international Mata’utia, who has reached the Grand Final in his first season in Super League, was forced to sit out the Challenge Cup final in July through suspension.

The former Newcastle Knights favourite, who was sin-binned against Leeds for a high tackle last week, says running out at Old Trafford will help make up for the disappointment of Wembley.

He said: “Wembley hurt because I was just so invested into it.

“But this is one I’ve been working towards personally since coming over here.

“I wanted to come to a club that was going to make Grand Finals and win Grand Finals so it’s a bit of relief we’ve made it but we’ve still got one more job to do.”

Sione Mata’utia out for revenge

Mata’utia says he is still hurting by his side’s dramatic defeat by Catalans Dragons at the Magic Weekend but is confident there will be no repeat in the Grand Final.

The reigning champions will go into the final as favourites but they remain haunted by their recent 31-30 golden-point defeat by the Dragons at St James’ Park, where they conceded three converted tries in the last five minutes to send the game into extra-time.Mata’uta added: “It still hurts now, just thinking about it. It was disappointing because we set the platform for 65 minutes. They never looked like they were going to worry us at all.

“I think we were thinking about beers on the bus after the game already. They just came back and, the good team that they are, capitalised on their opportunities and went on to win the game.

“We spoke about it a lot after the game and sort of put it to bed quick. We were in a similar position against Leeds – we were a man down and bit of momentum was with them – but we stuck it out.

“I think it was one of the key learnings from that game.

“We had the formula against them at the Magic Weekend but just didn’t finish the game like we wanted to. We’ll be confident, we know what they’re going to bring. It’s going to be a tough 80 minutes.

“It’s going to be spoken about but what Saints do is bunker down and worry about ourselves.”

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