COVID-19 has been the devil for the past two years, but it seems to have hit the sport of rugby league harder in 2021 than 2020.
And, for one Castleford Tigers star, the struggle with the virus is one he will never forget.
Peter Matautia has revealed to castlefordtigers.com that contracting COVID-19 led to a huge weight loss of nine kilograms.
“I knew it was a horrible thing, but it is something I will never take lightly again,” Mata’utia told castlefordtigers.com.
“It hit me pretty hard but I was also more worried for my wife who is pregnant with twins. That was one of the battles I was going through.
“To everyone who has had it, or who is going through it, keep fighting.”
Mata’utia said he could certainly feel the effects of losing the weight he did in the closing stages of the clash against the Rhinos – a which the Tigers won 32-18.
“I think with about 10 to go I really felt it, I just laid on the ground when Greg (Eden) scored. My chest started to tighten up and I was just trying to suck as much air as I could in.”
With Mata’utia leaving the Tigers at the end of the season after three-and-a-half years at the club, he is desperate to reach a top six play-off spot.
“I think that’s the biggest reason why I tried to get back as quick as I could. It’s important for me, I want to make the top six, there is a lot of boys here who deserve to make semi-finals and finals again.
“I have the utmost respect for Shenny (Michael Shenton), I’m pretty close with him and I want to see him play again this year before the season ends. That’s one of my reasons why.”