Matulino finds positives in heavy loss
New Zealand Warriors big man Ben Matulino has seen the silver lining in a decisive 24-point defeat to the Sydney Roosters at Allianz Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Coming away from the contest sporting plenty of bruises after mixing it in the middle with a group of physical Roosters defenders, Matulino said playing such a red-hot team will set his side up nicely for their run to the finals.
"Playing against the Roosters now puts us in a good spot," the Kiwi international prop told NRL.com.
"We see where we're really at and now we can bounce back.
"Playing against a quality side like the Roosters is going to set us up perfectly and we know where we need to get to if we want to compete with the top teams."
"We just need to work hard now."
Despite the likes of Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Dylan Napa, Sam Moa and Sio Siua Taukeiaho dominating through the middle of the field, Matulino still had a strong game for the visitors.
He said he was always expecting the Roosters to be powerful in the forwards, but was amazed by their defensive starch.
"We knew that was their strong point and they were pretty hard to contain.
"I think one of the main things was their defence when we were coming off our own line, they were just keeping us down on our own line.
"In that first half we didn't really get a chance to attack down there so their defence was awesome today."
Asked what went wrong for his team on Sunday afternoon, Matulino said errors were crucial.
"I think for us the completions, that's what really hurt us," he said.
"A 50 per cent completion rate at half-time against a quality side like the Roosters, that's obviously going to hurt us.
"The first half they pretty much hurt us there and just those errors at the start of our sets in our own half hurt us as well."
17 minutes into the game, with the Roosters bashing away through the middle, Matulino came up with a big play, throwing Waerea-Hargreaves aggressively to the ground in what appeared to be an attempt to fire up his forward pack.
But Matulino said it wasn't a challenge designed to ruffle his opposite number up at all.
"Not really, I was just out there playing my best, I wasn't targeting anyone," he said.