Sione Mata’utia has told of how the stress of thinking he had suffered another bad concussion on Friday night against Parramatta had left him feeling sick as he left the field late in the game.
But while the Knights centre was later cleared after passing a HIA test, he still faces an anxious wait after having scans on a possible eye socket fracture over the weekend.
He will see a specialist on Monday to discover the extent of any damage.
Mata’utia looked in a bad way as he was helped from the field by two Knights trainers after coming off second best in a tackle on Eels five-eighth Mitchell Moses during the Knights’ 18-16 victory at McDonald Jones Stadium.
There were initial fears he may has suffered another severe head knock with a series of concussions over the past two years leaving his playing future under a cloud at the end of last season.
Mata’utia admitted he was worried himself.
“I tackled him down low and he just sort of accidentally came down on my head,” Mata’utia said after the game.
“I was in so much pain. I was blurry, I couldn’t even feel my eye and felt sick.
“I was a bit stressed to be honest. I didn’t know if it was concussion so I was stressed about that.
“But by the time I came in and did the [HIA] test, I was cleared and I was alright again although I was still feeling a bit nauseous.
“I’ll get a scan to see if there is a fracture but hopefully, it is all good.
“The eye is a bit swollen and sore to touch but I should be sweet.
“If there is a fracture, I’m obviously going to be in a bit of trouble but the scans are precautionary so hopefully it’s all clear.”
Mata’utia was still in the dressingroom as the game ended and didn’t see the dramatic final moments when the Eels very nearly scored to take the game away from the Knights.
“I didn’t see what happened at the end but I heard the yells and screams and I was just praying things would go our way,” he said.
“We badly needed the win and while it wasn’t pretty, all the boys worked really hard for it. It was good that something went our way.”
While the return of skipper Mitchell Pearce was a huge factor in the Knights just getting over the line for the win, Knights coach Nathan Brown labelled Danny Levi’s 80 minute performance his best at the club and prop Daniel Saifiti was also influential after several weeks out.
“The switch has sort of flicked for Daniel,” Brown said.
“He come into the year off a big shoulder reco and he started slow and was a bit up and down.
“But his last three performances, he has played like how I would expect him to play.
“Daniel is a player who I have a lot of faith to get to a very high level and again tonight, he showed why as a club, we do have a lot of faith in him. He’s a kid who can help move us in the right direction.”
Saifiti said the fact the coach has been driving him hard has had a real positive effect.
“He really works hard with me and wants the best out of me and I feel like I have got that over the last three games which is good,” he said.
“The injury couldn’t have happened at a worse time because I’d found some form so to be out, especially for some of those close games, you just want to be out there, shoulder to shoulder with the boys having a dig.
“I just really had it in my mind to come out tonight and really rip in.”
Saifiti said the return of Pearce was huge for the team.
“He made a massive difference just with his kicking game and his talk out there and we probably should have taken better advantage,” he said.
“I mean it’s a case of should have, would have, could have with how many games we win if he doesn’t get injured but we just have to look forward now to playing the rest of the year well.”
Brown wasn’t surprised at Pearce’s contribution after three months out.
“He brings a certain skill set that every side needs and when you have them, they certainly make life a lot easier for the rest of the playing group,” he said.
Brown was also rapt in Levi in his first starting role for the Knights this season.
“I think it was best game for the club since I have been here,” he said.
“He has had his little setbacks along the way but he has worked really hard on becoming a better team player.”