For Pat Mata’utia, selection in the Samoan representative side stands as one of his greatest achievements.
“It means everything,” the 21-year-old Newcastle Knight said.
“Mum and Dad are from Samoa, so it’s about representing our culture and our last name. It’s one of the best things.”
It was an exciting moment when he received the news he's been named in the side and it didn’t take long for the news to filter though the Mata’utia family.
“I got a lot of calls from my family congratulating me.
“Whether they come to the game or watch it on TV, they will be cheering.”
Mata’utia is joined by Knights teammates Carlos Tuimavave and Joseph Leilua with the trio spending the week in camp on the Gold Coast before Saturday’s big game.
The Matt Parish coached Toa Samoa had its first training session on Tuesday morning where the side began preparation for Saturday’s highly anticipated match against the Pacific Island nation of Tonga.
Judging by the atmosphere in camp, Mata’utia anticipates the match-up to be explosive.
“I’m expecting more aggression. Samoa and Tonga have a big rivalry,” he said.
"Toga is playing for their country and we are there to do the same.
“It’s different to a usual game."
Leilua is sure to take on a leadership role among the squad after the powerful centre established himself as a driving force in Samoa’s recent Four Nations conquest.
Toa Samoa came close to a win over the eventual tournament winners New Zealand and still had an opportunity to qualify for the final until into the final round of fixtures.
“He’s someone who has played a lot of games for Samoa and has a lot of experience,” he said about Leilua, who has been capped seven times by Samoa.
“I’ve learned heaps from him already after training this morning.
“Knowing that Carlos and Joey are here is good.”
“But we try not to stick together because we already know each other, so it gives us a chance to meet all the other boys and get to know them so our culture can build within the team.
“Every team needs to bond with each other to play well and helps to understand what they are like and how they play.
Meanwhile, Pat’s older brother and Knights teammate Chanel Mata’utia will represent in the NSW Cup Representative side to play the Queensland Residents on Sunday.
“Chanel is happy to represent his state and I’m happy to represent this country,” he said.
Leeson Ah Mau, John Asiata, Sam Kasiano, Joseph Leilua, Ricky Leutele, Sam Lisone, Isaac Liu, Dunamis Lui, Alapati Mata'utia, Josh McGuire, Tautau Moga, Dominique Peyroux, Frank Pritchard, Tim Simona, Michael Sio, Sauaso Sue, Carlos Tuimavave, Daniel Vidot.