Pat Mata’utia realizes a family dream when he makes his NRL debut this Sunday at Cbus Super Stadium.
He joins eldest brother Peter, who plays for the St George Illawarra Dragons, Chanel and youngest brother Sione in playing first grade rugby league.
Pat has been named in the centres and will play with Chanel, who is named on the wing, however Sione misses the occasion due to suspension.
“I’m pretty nervous but happy. I can’t wait to get out there. It’s been a long pre-season,” Pat told Knights TV.
“This year, I’ve been really concentrating on trying to get an NRL game. (Coach Nathan) Browny has seen something in me and has given me the opportunity.”
He’ll also be one of five young Knights set to make their NRL debut in the season opening clash.
“I reckon it will be good for us. The five of us have been training hard,” he added.
The 22-year-old has prospered under the systems new head coach Nathan Brown has put in place and has paid particular attention the side’s revamped defensive principles.
“This year he’s been concentrating on defence. I’ve shown him at training that I’ve been up for it,” Pat said.
“I believe it’s (defence) better this year and Browny has given me the opportunity to show it."
The Newcastle Knights kick off season 2016 with a Round 1 match against the Gold Coast Titans at Cbus Super Stadium on Sunday March 6 from 5.30pm (local).