It’d be hard slogging turning up week after week to receive a butt-kicking, as the Knights players do. It’d be even harder to do so not knowing if you even have a job in three months.
That’s the prospect facing Knights centre Peter Mata’utia, who’s told SMH that despite being uncontracted for next year, he’s “not heard anything yet“.
“It is still between my club and my manager,” Mata’utia said. “I definitely want to stay, but have not heard anything yet. That is up to my manager to sort out.”
“Nine games left, and you’re probably wondering what will happen next year.”
We don’t mean any disrespect to Mata’utia, but as far as the Knights not offering him a contract goes – why would they?
The Knights have already added Shaun Kenny-Dowall for the remainder of this year, and Broncos centre Tautau Moga is believed to be on his way to Newcastle as well (not to mention the major signing of teenage fullback Kalyn Ponga). With those three players added to the backline, it’s expected that the majority of the Knights’ 2017 backline will be displaced from the starting side.
While it’s obviously important to keep first grade-quality depth, Mata’utia is 26 years old. If the Knights are capable of finding younger outside backs of similar quality, it’d make more sense to use them for that purpose, in the hopes of grooming them into regular starters. If Mata’utia were ever going to blossom into a star, it likely would have happened by now.
That said, if Mata’utia is happy to sign on for the veteran minimum, it’d be hard to criticise the deal. However, at this point, you’d think that he could earn more money – and have more success – moving over to England, as many of his former teammates have done.
Mata’utia has played 67 first grade games over 7 seasons with the Knights and Dragons.