Ben Matulino achieved a significant milestone last night for the Warriors, though his ultimate legacy will be defined in the next few months.

Matulino reached 200 NRL games for the Auckland club last night in the 30-14 loss to the Dragons, just the fourth player to achieve the feat.

The double century in Hamilton is a significant accomplishment, but the next 13 games will have a big say in his enduring Warriors' status.

If he can find his best form, and help to power the Warriors into the playoffs for the first time in six years, Matulino will leave for the Tigers next year recognised as one of the best forwards in the club's history, having been part of the successful campaigns in 2008, 2010 and 2011.


Matulino immediately impressed when he burst on to the scene in 2008, and became the first NYC graduate to reach 100, then 150 NRL games. His potential seemed unlimited by the end of the 2011 season, when he was the junior member of the propping quartet (with Sam Rapira, Russell Packer and Jacob Lillyman) that carried the club to the grand final.

But it hasn't panned out that way. For whatever reason, Matulino hasn't totally harnessed his talents.

While Kiwis colleague Jesse Bromwich regarded among the best two or three props in the game, Matulino - though near the top of the tree - is on the next branch down.

He's still been very good, and is one of only three players to win the Warriors' player of the year award on multiple occasions (2012 and 2015), but there is more gold within. Still, the modest Matulino deserves recognition.

"For me it's just another game," said Matulino. "I get more of a buzz from other people's milestones, rather than my own. I was really lucky to play in Ruben [Wiki]and [Steve] Pricey's 300 games so that was a big buzz for me."

"But I didn't think I would get this far. Being a young fella playing first grade I was pretty happy with that and getting to play alongside guys I had seen on TV like Manu [Vatuvei] and Jerome Ropati. If I just played a couple of games with them I could tell my friends those are my teammates."

Matulino made his debut in round 14 of the 2008 season, against Cronulla at Toyota Park in Sydney.

Simon Mannering is the only survivor from that day, while Brent Tate, Logan Swann and Lance Hohaia were part of the roster, although Matulino's memories centre on the opposition.

"Greg Bird and Paul Gallen - the bash brothers as they were known back them," said Matulino. "I was definitely scared before that match and a bit nervous. I was glad to get through that game."

Matulino heads to Tiger town from next year, but is focusing his energies on a fine finale in Auckland, out to match his best year so far at the Warriors (2011).

"Our team on paper probably wasn't the best team," said Matulino of the team which made the grand final against Manly. "But everybody worked for each other. We knew what everyone was going to do, came through some tough patches and just stuck at it."