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Crystal Palace (A) Sat 31 Jan 2015, 15:00, Barclays Premier League

Roberto Hosts Tomahawks

by Rob Urbani @efc_roburbani

Roberto Martinez played host to members of the USA's rugby league side on Thursday as the Tomahawks squad took time out from preparations for their World Cup quarter-final.
The US side have proved the surprise package of the Rugby League World Cup, defeating the Cook Islands and Wales en route to a place in the last eight of the competition.
They face reigning world champions Australia in Wrexham on Saturday (1pm kick-off) and go into the game buoyed by some additional coaching insight from the Goodison boss.
Terry Matterson, the USA's head coach, and senior players from the Tomahawks squad spent an hour talking football and rugby with Martinez before being taken on a guided tour of the Blues' Finch Farm training base.
Matterson told "It was a very interesting insight and what a great man to give us so much time with him. He is a really genuine guy and to have a good hour with him talking about football, rugby league and throwing some ideas around is very insightful. We are very grateful to Roberto and Everton.
"There are parallels between the sports. Obviously the resources in football are massive but I think the personal approach Roberto takes is the way to go and is something I try to work on.
"To see how Roberto handles different situations is very interesting. We threw quite a lot of questions at him but he gave some very honest answers. If I was a footballer, it would be great to play under a coach like him.
"It was just great to speak to a guy working with enormous resources that is so down to earth and interested in what we are doing too."
Matterson's USA side have upset the odds in this year's World Cup. Reaching the knock-out stages of the competition is all the more remarkable considering he only began working with the players in the weeks before the tournament - taking time out from his day job as assistant coach for the North Queensland Cowboys in his native Australia.
The former head coach of Castleford has quickly managed to galvanise his squad into an impressive unit. As they prepare for their intimidating showdown with Australia, Matterson is focussing on his side putting up a good display in a game they are not expected to win.
He added: "It is important that you concentrate on the game and not the occasion. The occasion can get in the way of what you need to do in the game. Talking to Roberto about the derby coming up, if you play with too much emotion you can forget about what your job is. If we do our jobs well then we should put in a good performance. If we perform well, then you never know.
"It is amazing to be going into a game like this. I don't think anybody expected this. If we had won one game it would have exceeded any sort of expectations. But to win two, have a tough game against Scotland and then give ourselves a chance of playing in a quarter-final against the best nation in the world is beyond anyone's dreams. It is a big challenge for us but we are really pleased we have got that opportunity."
Matterson was joined by Newcastle Knights-bound Clint Newton, New South Wales star Matt Shipway and St Louis University's Gabriel Farley on Roberto's tour of the training complex.

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