FAMILY REUNION: Peter Mata’utia, pictured with brothers Chanel and Sione, has been granted a release by the Dragons to link with Newcastle. Picture: Jonathan CarrollONE of the NRL’s most talentedclans will finally be reunited after the Dragons agreed to release Peter Mata’utia from the final two years of his playing contract to link with former club Newcastle on Wednesday.
The oldest Mata’utiawill now get the chance to play alongside brothers Chanel, Pat and Sione and become just the secondquartet of brothers to play first grade alongside each other in more than a century after the Burgess brothers achieved the feat with Souths in 2013.
Mata’utiahad, in the past,been linked to reunion with his three brothers at Canterbury after the trio initially agreed to join the Bulldogs as a package deal in 2014 before instead re-committing to the Knights on respective three-year deals.
His release will allow him to link with the struggling Knights, with whom he debuted as a 19-year-old in 2011,effective immediately.
“Peter is a local junior who we are bringing home, and that is important,” Knights coach Nathan Brown said..
“More importantly he is a left centre, which is something we have been looking for.Peter is a good, consistent first grade player and he will help enhance our young developing players.”
The versatile Mata’utia has played 25 games since joining the Dragons in 2014,switching between fullback, wing and centre,but has struggledto cement a regular top-grade spot.He looked to have found a home when he played a career-high 21 first grade games, 15 of them at right centre, last season, prompting him tospurninterest fromthe Gold Coast to re-sign with the Dragons until the end of 2017.
However the arrival of Tim Lafai and Kurt Mann tothe club and Josh Dugan’s brief flirtation with a switch to the centres have limited his opportunities in his preferred position.
He’s played five of the Dragons’seven games this season on the right wing but was droppedin favour of another new arrival, Kalifa Faifai Loa, forSaturday’s victory over the Titans after the club suffered consecutive defeats to the Cowboys and Broncos.
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