KNIGHTS winger Ken Sio has vowed to give as good as he gets when he marks prolific tryscorer Suliasi Vunivalu in Sunday’s showdown with Melbourne at McDonald Jones Stadium.
In the space of the past three seasons, Vunivalu has established himself as one of the freakish finishers of the modern era, scoring 52 tries in 59 games, at a strike rate of 88 per cent.
Six of those tries have come in four games against Newcastle, including a double in the Storm’s 40-14 victory at AAMI Park in round six.
But Sio also scored twice in that game to finish with honours even against the Fijian flyer. Moreover, his career record of four tries in five games against Melbourne suggests he won’t be the only winger with his hands full on Sunday.
“It’s not one-way traffic,” Sio said. “The whole game goes both ways, across the board.
“It would be nice to score a try or two on Sunday, and I’m sure he’ll be hoping to do the same thing.”
Sio said as was the case every game, his goal was to outplay Vunivalu in both attack and defence.
“You’ve just got to compete against him, and do what you can do to keep him quiet,” Sio said. “But he’s a quality winger, especially at his age, and he’s going to be a big challenge for me on the weekend.
“Each week I go into game trying to be better than my opposite winger. It’s my job to compete with him and hopefully come out on top.”
At 192 centimetres, Vunivalu holds an 11-centimetre height advantage and Sio has been working overtime this week to prepare himself for a likely barrage of high kicks.
“That’s what we work on at training, as outside backs,” he said.
“Then when it’s game time, you know what your job is.”
With seven four-pointers in 10 games this season, Sio is Newcastle’s leading tryscorer and needs only one more to rack up a half-century in the NRL.
The 27-year-old is waiting to learn if his consistent form this year is rewarded with a contract extension.
“At the moment it’s all up in the air,” he said.
“I’m keen to stay, but if that’s not the go, I guess I move on and hopefully do well for my next club.”