WANTED: Ben Matulino of the Warriors.
WANTED: Ben Matulino of the Warriors. Anthony Au-Yeung

Warriors star in demand in NRL

IF THE Warriors decide to release Ben Matulino, there are at least four Sydney clubs who would pick him up almost immediately.

That's the best measure of his status in the NRL.

Despite all the talk over the past week, Matulino remains in demand.

His reputation may have taken a hit - with a strangely off-colour season - but his pedigree is unquestioned as a mobile, experienced, ball-playing prop. He's also durable, averaging more than 23 matches a season since 2010.

It's unlikely the Warriors will dispense with his services, although the final decision will rest with new coach Stephen Kearney.

It's a delicate one. Kearney needs to decide if he can get the best out of the 27-year-old, or if the club would be better investing in another option.

It's almost certain he will be at the club next year, but Matulino is on notice to earn a contract extension beyond 2017.

Matulino never really got going this season. He mixed sweet and sour in the early rounds before being dumped from first grade for his involvement in the Gang of Six sleeping pills/energy drinks affair. He improved through their mid-year run before fading again in the last month.

"Some years don't go as good as a player wants them to,” said Warriors staffer Tony Iro, who has had a long association with Matulino.

"He's been reasonably consistent over a long time. Maybe he's been trying too hard. Maybe he's lost some confidence.”


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