2016 finish: Finals week three
The coach says: Greg Matterson has been head coach since 2008, leading the Jets to the 2012 title. So how does he get the best out of his sides? “I don’t set goals because our season is controlled by what happens above . . . we just want to make sure that we compete hard and if we get beat they at least earn their win – we don’t hand it to them,” he reveals. Fiveeighth Josh Cleeland and hooker Matt McIlwrick have moved on and Matterson admits they’ll be hard to replace. “They weren’t just good, tough, honest footballers, they were real good clubmen,” he says. “They put their bodies on the line every week and really wanted to win.”
Player to watch: Expected to wreak havoc at Henson Park this season is 20-year-old Tepa Fuiavailili. Matterson predicts the 200cm front-rower will be a colossal figure in the pack as he makes the step up to NSW Cup from under-20s. Back in 2014, while attending Ipswich State High, the youngster was chased by four clubs and two codes, and Matterson is thrilled Cronulla won out. “The two front-rowers we had graded this year, Kurt Dillon and Malakai Houma, who are both full-timers now, I see Tepa as similar to those guys. He’ll spend maybe a season with us and then he’ll be taken on full-time.”
KEY GAINS: Manaia Cherrington, Luke Towers, Alec Bush
KEY LOSSES: David Fifita, Josh Cleeland, Matt McIlwrick, Jesse Sene-Lefao, Jacob Gagan, Lachlan Stein, Mitch Brown
TOWERING INFERNO At 200cm, prop Tuia Fuiavailili should rock a few opposition forwards.