Newcastle Knights CEO Matt Gidley is delighted with the long awaited announcement the Club will retain some of its most promising young players after the Mata’utia brothers signed for an additional three years.
The announcement Pat, Sione and Chanel had re-signed with the Knights was made on Thursday morning following a lengthy negotiation process.
“It’s wonderful news,” Gidley told the media on Thursday.
“We’ve said previously we’ll do all we can to retain our best young talent and certainly the boys are that,” he said.
“They are wonderfully talented rugby league players but they are wonderful young men as well.
“That’s really important to our Club. We want to build our Club based on strong characters and the three brothers tick all those boxes."
For the tight knit family, the decision not only hung on the wellbeing and interests of the three players.
“I think it’s about more than you can offer commercially, the boys have said throughout the entire negotiation that it’s important on behalf of their entire family that they are content and happy,” he explained.
“They have a wonderful lifestyle in Newcastle and think they all believe in the direction that Rick Stone is taking the team.”
The future shines brightly for all three brothers, with 18-year old Sione already an Australian test player, Chanel with seven NRL games under his belt and Pat on the cusp of making his first grade debut.
“They can all see a clear path in terms of a career at our Club,” he said.
“I think they weighed all these things up and we’re really pleased they decided to stay in Newcastle.
Gidley said the fact the brothers have committed to the Club and the community reflects what the Knights stands for and puts them in a long lineage of successful families to represent the red and blue.
“I think it’s really important to keep them together, they are really close and are a tight knit family, which is really wonderful,” he said.
“Our Club has a long history of brothers coming through and playing at the top level."
Despite the drawn-out process, Gildey is confident the end result offers the best for both the Mata’utia trio and the Club.
“There were some circumstances beyond all our control that slowed things down,” he said.
"The opportunity to sit down and have a conversation not just about football terms, but about their entire lives and taking into consideration of their family as well.
“But again the boys were very patient through that process and the Club was patient.
“We are grateful to arrive at this point today.
“We were always confident but there’s no secret that other clubs will continue to try and recruit some of our best young talent.
“That’s been the case since we started.
"The three of the boys are highly talented and understood they would be in demand.
“We were always confident we would retain the boys.”
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