Talented brothers Sione and Chanel Mata’utia have always had their sights set on playing in the NRL.
That’s why Friday night will be an extraordinary occasion for the Mata’utia family with the pair set to make their NRL debut together when the Newcastle Knights host the Sydney Roosters.
NRL statistics guru, David Middleton says the pair is the first set of brothers to make an NRL debut in the same match for more than 70 years.
“I’m looking forward to tomorrow because it’s something my brothers and I have always wanted to do,” Chanel told teammate Clint Newton after training on Thursday.
“Prep this week was pretty good and today’s training went well.
“I just can’t wait, I’m really eager.”
Sione added, “To play with my brother is a good achievement and something we’ve always wanted to do.
“It would be good to be all four of us, but I’m happy to just take the one."
Football has always been a family affair for the Mata’utias.
Chanel and Sione are joined by Pat at the Knights while their older brother Pete is playing for the St George Illawarra Dragons.
The boys' mother had planned to return early from a visit to Samoa when it was announced on Wednesday that Sione was set to debut.
She now has an extra reason to be at Hunter Stadium on Friday night.
“I don’t think she knows that I’m playing at the moment so that will be a surprise for her,” Chanel revealed.
“I really can’t wait to see her after the game.
“They’re going to be really proud, it’s the reason why we play footy.
“We play for our family and most of all our mum who’s done it tough for us.
“I’m really happy that me and Sione can play together.”
When asked who is the most talented of the four brothers, a diplomatic Sione points out that all the brothers are good in their own way.
“We all help each other out and it’s a team effort so to speak with all four of us boys," he said.
Coach Wayne Bennett is confident in Sione and Chanel will hold their own in first grade.
“It’s just coincidence, both of them have had different journeys to get here,” he told the media on Thursday at Knights HQ.
“Sione excels in all areas but it will be a test for him, there’s no doubt about that.
“We were kind of thinking that this could happen to us when we moved Kurt into the halfback role, so we’ve been grooming him.
“He’s ready for it and is a very confident young man, without being over confident, and has lots of football ability and skill.
“We’re all confident that he can handle it.
“Chanel has also improved a great deal as well and is a little bit older than Sione.
“I’m really pleased for him as he’s probably had to make more changes than Sione.
“He played for NSW this year in the state league game that they played against Queensland and he was one of the best players there.
“He’s always had the ability, it was just about getting his attitude right and he’s really improved in that area.
“He does all the little things better than he ever did which is good."
The Newcastle Knights take on the Sydney Roosters on Friday at Hunter Stadium. Be there to see the Mata’utia brother debut and to cheer on your team. Get your ticket here.