Apparently Ben Mautalino doesn’t like being a starting prop. It seems he would rather come on after twenty minutes from the interchange bench.
Heaven only knows why.
Each week he continually puts severe pressure on the backbone of the opposing team.
While he doesn’t necessarily break through and run that extra fifteen metres, it is in part due to the initial damage inflicted by him that the auxiliary units are able to break the line a little later in the peace.
There was none of this running two wide of the ruck, either. No half measures as he approached the defensive line.
It was full speed ahead and straight up the guts for him; usually with two or three defenders desperately hanging on. Yeah, it’s just what the opposition wants after having been battered and bruised by the starting props for the fearsome figure of Mautalino to come on after a quarter of the match and proceed to heap further torment on the enemy forwards.
Now, there may be some out that might point out that Mautalino only has the effect he does because the other team is starting to tire.
Well, to those that think such absurdities...a big fat raspberry too you. For, yesterday at Mt Smart Stadium, Mautalino was forced to act as one of starting props alongside Russell Packer due to the State of Origin selection of Jacob Lillyman.
And a mighty fine job of it he did too. There was no more effective player, than he. Once again, it was straight up the middle into the eye of the storm.
A good argument could be put up for him to start regularly. Against the Newcastle Knights in round ten, the Warrior’s go forward was nonexistent until Mautalino appeared after fifteen minutes. He quickly began to dent the Knights line giving his side momentum they had previously struggled to gather. It should be stated, too, that this is a common occurrence. Consistency appears to be his middle name. Week in, week out, Mautalino operates at the same high level.
The Warrior’s are likely to be without both Lillyman (origin duties) and Sam Rapira (injured) in the upcoming weeks.
So, Mautalino will more than likely be required to be in the starting side for some time now.
And hopefully he will discover just how good he can be. Which, of course, means a growth spurt of confidence.
You never know... with that added self belief, he might even find he enjoys it.