One of five Sharks backs yet to feature in an NRL Preliminary Final, Sosaia Feki says he and his fellow flyers are embracing the hype ahead of the side’s clash with North Queensland this Friday.
Though no stranger to a Finals fixture versus the Cowboys, Feki recalls his maiden outing in a play-off – that of the side’s Elimination Final of 2013 versus the North Queensland outfit.
Met with a baptism of fire in the form of towering bombs – straight from the boot of Johnathan Thurston – Feki tells the tale of overcoming a first-touch error to score the eventual match-winning try.
“There were a bit of nerves early on obviously playing in a must-win game in front of a big crowd,” Feki said.
“But as the game went on we all slowly got into our systems and I was pretty happy in the end to score that try.”
Gearing up for a third do-or-die meeting with the Cowboys in the space of four seasons, the 25-year-old winger says a lot has changed, since the first time he stepped out onto Allianz Stadium in a Final in his debut season.
“I’ve been working on my game, obviously coming through the Warriors’ 20s I had played a lot of centre so it was all new to me back then,” Feki said.
“Finishing, scoring tries, and getting more involved … They’re all areas I feel I’d needed to work on, and I think I have.”
Crossing for 13 tries this season - his best haul in a single year - Feki knows he and the Sharks are better for the 'embarrassing' exit from the 2015 Finals, heading into Friday’s block-buster.
“I didn’t want to remember anything of that game, it was embarrassing to tell you the truth,” Feki said.
“I guess the positive is, is that we’re more prepared this time around. We’ve got a good team this year, and it’s showed throughout the season.
“Our confidence is right up there, we’re pretty excited just to get out there. It’s everyone’s dream to play in a Grand Final, let alone win one.
“But we know we’ve got to get past the Cowboys first.”