Mata’uti opts to stay in Hunter

ROOKIE outside back Peter Mata’utia has re-signed with the Knights for two more seasons after knocking back offers from three rival clubs.

Mata’utia has appeared in only one NRL game, scoring a try in Newcastle’s 12-10 loss to Sydney Roosters last month, but the former Australian Schoolboys representative is regarded as one of the club’s brightest prospects.

Incoming coach Wayne Bennett had little knowledge of the 20-year-old before his NRL debut, other than a strong recommendation from incumbent coach Rick Stone.

But after Mata’utia’s impressive performance against the Roosters, Bennett identified his retention as a priority and told Knights officials to move quickly.

Mata’utia’s manager, Chris Haddad, said yesterday that there had been significant interest from rival clubs, including three strong offers, but ‘‘Peter wanted to show some loyalty to his home-town club’’.

Originally from Sydney, Mata’utia moved to Raymond Terrace in his early teens and has come up through the Knights system.

He has three younger brothers, Chanel (19) and Pat (18), who are both playing in Newcastle’s under-20s, and 15-year-old Sione, who plays in the club’s under-16s and was chosen last week in the NSW CHS under-15s.

Mata’utia could earn his second NRL call-up against Penrith on Saturday if James McManus cannot shrug off an ankle injury.

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