Three weeks ago, after Knights centre Peter Mata’utia told SMH that he was yet to be offered a deal from the Knights, we speculated that the Knights would eventually offer him a minimum deal; and that when they do, he could in all likelihood get a better deal by heading to the Super League.
It appears that we might be wizards (or it could be that his playing options looked so predictably limited, that it was all fairly straightforward to put together. But we’re pretty sure it’s the wizard thing).
According to Fox Sports reporter Nathan Ryan on his Market Watch segment, Mata’utia has now been offered a cheap, one-year deal by the Knights, which he’s expected to decline in favour of a richer, longer-term deal from Super League club St Helens (spooky).
“(The Knights) are only willing to offer him a one-year deal,” Ryan said. “In the meantime, he’s attracted interest from Super League powerhouse St Helens. They’re talking two-to-three years.”
(As an aside, you don’t hear the term “powerhouse” used that often any more. It’s a bit of a cool, 90s vibe there from Ryan, and we dig it. Let’s bring it back!)
“If it comes down to dollars and cents, and a bit of security, it looks like he’ll probably end up in England next year.”
As we said, moving on is probably the best move for both parties. Between Kalyn Ponga, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Tautau Moga and Nathan Ross, there’s likely only one backline spot available at the Knights next season, and he’d be far from a certainty to claim it (and if he did, he’d also be blocking his own brother’s path to first grade).
It would be a shame for a loyal servant to not be around when the Knights eventually become an NRL powerhouse (yeah!), but sometimes that’s the business of football.
Mata’utia has played 70 first grade games for the Knights and Dragons, and 1 Test for Samoa.