Matterson out to win NRL stripes at Tigers

Former Sydney Rooster Ryan Matterson (C) wants to become a leader at his new Wests Tigers NRL club.
Former Sydney Rooster Ryan Matterson (C) wants to become a leader at his new Wests Tigers NRL club.

The easy option for Ryan Matterson would've been to stay.

He had two more years on his deal at the Sydney Roosters, where his versatility made him a key part of their 2018 premiership triumph.

But, when the club signed Angus Crichton to play in his favoured right back-row spot, Matterson made what he believed was the best decision for his career.

"They wanted him at right back row - I wanted to play right back row. They said they wanted me playing lock," Matterson told AAP.

"I said, 'Yeah, that's okay'. But I wanted to play my own style of football. I said, 'I think this is the best time to leave'."

The 24-year-old went on to become a critical part of Trent Robinson's bench, having the versatility of playing centre, second row and lock.

But, Matterson craved a bigger role and, after talking to a number of clubs, including junior club Parramatta, opted to shift to Concord.

He insisted he had no concern with the move despite the controversial exit of then-coach Ivan Cleary and the appointment last last year of Michael Maguire.

"I only talked to Ivan once, but I wasn't really worrying about who was coaching me. I just wanted to go to a club that wanted me," Matterson said.

"I really wanted an opportunity to cement my spot in the team and to become a leader, become a role model and have people look up to me.

"I want to actually help people. I wanted someone to give me a fair go and play my style. I think the move to the Wests Tigers was the best decision for me."

Matterson was a surprise showing in mid-November on day one of the Tigers' pre-season, just a handful of weeks after the Roosters' grand final victory.

He admitted wanting to join his premiership-winning teammates on their celebratory trip to Las Vegas, however was prevented by salary-cap measures.

The US sojourn apparently came under the 2019 cap, which didn't include Matterson in the squad.

"I wanted to go, but I quickly realised that I'm no longer at the Roosters and I've got a new brotherhood to form," he said.

"There's only a certain time that you can cherish (the grand final win) because then you've got to put it in the past and move forward for the next year.

"Especially when you're starting at a new club, you can't really bring that hype about winning a grand final to a new team because they haven't experienced it.

"And you don't want to come across with an ego, either. So you've got to put it behind you and then move on and focus on a new goal with the team."

Australian Associated Press