Falcon no laughing matter for Matterson as concussion hits home
Copping a falcon in rugby league brings a level of amusement for commentators and fans alike, but for Roosters back-rower Ryan Matterson, who is back on the paddock after a tumultuous two-month period dealing with the effects of concussion, a ball to the face threatened to derail his season.
Three knocks to the head over as many weeks put the young up-and-coming star in doubt for his short-term future.
The final blow came against the Broncos in round 11 – a game that finished in controversy with Dylan Napa sin-binned and a late try to winger Jamayne Isaako.
Matterson was on the receiving end of a Kodi Nikorima kick hitting him flush in the face and the effects lingered following the match.
"The last one was different, I got pins and needles down my leg and knew something was up," Matterson told NRL.com.
"As the night went on it got worse and worse."
Matterson remained home-bound for eight weeks – or in more rugby league terms – the entire State of Origin period.
He rarely trained with the squad, in fact, he was rarely sighted until club and external doctors were satisfied with their testing.
"I couldn't leave to go anywhere," Matterson said.
"I was dizzy, I had sensitivity to light and noise. I was getting tired easily.
"With the head, it's a touchy subject because not many people know about it and only me as an individual knows how I feel. I felt lonely sometimes because no one understood what I was going through.
"Mum and Dad live around the corner, my brother's living with me and my girlfriend. I was very worried, started seeing neurologists, chiropractors ... I was seeing everybody.
"It was like an off-season, in-season, without the pre-season. Luke Keary had something similar at the start of the year. It wasn't a fun stage but I've overcome that now."
The Roosters have been cautious with their approach towards Matterson's recovery with the back-rower cleared for a return against the Titans a fortnight ago.
He also underwent minor wrist surgery to ensure his availability later in the season. Matterson got back to his groove and played out 80 minutes in the Tricolours' big win over the Sea Eagles.
"It was scary at the start with the concussion but we've got a great medical staff here so I felt right at home in my first game back," Matterson said.
"It was just about getting ready to play again. I trained for one week and I was back in the action."
With the Roosters on the charge towards the Telstra Premiership finals, the boost of Matterson's return adds a selection headache for coach Trent Robinson with the emergence of Victor Radley in recent months.
While Sunday's 56-24 win over the Sea Eagles was a dominant display, conceding four tries was the side's only concern.
"We don't get carried away because we bring ourselves back to earth," Matterson said.
"We leaked 24 points so we know our defence wasn't our best. There's always room for improvement at the Roosters, we'll never be complacent and always looking at better games.
"We haven't even got our full side back yet, that's the best thing."