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Season Review: Sione Mata’utia

It's hard to believe Sione Mata'utia is still only 22.

He's already achieved so much in the game.

He's now played 90 NRL games, captained his childhood Club and played for Australia.

The 2018 season for Mata'utia was a year where he was one of the nib Newcastle Knights' best.

He'd overcome his concussion issued and made 23 appearances for the year.

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He scored eight tries, made seven line-breaks and ran for 1736 metres.

In a string of four consecutive games, Mata'utia scored a try in each match between Rounds 11 and 14.

In the Round 21 clash against the Wests Tigers at McDonald Jones Stadium, the 22-year-old crossed for the 1000th try of the 2018 NRL season.

An interesting statistic showcased that Mata'utia is one of the most dominant defenders in the competition.

He ranked third in dominant tackles, only behind Sam Burgess from South Sydney and Matt Prior from Cronulla.

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He spent 2018 in the centres but will most likely slot into the backrow next year.

Moment: Round 2 v Canberra Raiders – winning try

The Kalyn Ponga and Mitchell Pearce era had kicked off nine days prior when the two superstars lead the Knights to a nail-biting victory against Manly in the first round of the 2018 season.

The Knights travelled to Canberra to face a Raiders outfit who had been narrowly beaten by the Gold Coast the week before.

It was a seesaw affair which saw both teams share the lead throughout the game.

With six minutes remaining, on the fourth tackle, the Knights had the ball metres out from the Raiders line.

Pearce was set on the short side with Mata'utia and Shaun Kenny-Dowall down the right edge.

The defence raced up onto Pearce in an attempt to rush him.

Pearce quickly moved the ball onto Mata'utia, who ran a straight and hard line in between Jarrod Croker and Nick Cotric.

He was never going to be stopped as he broke both tackles and scored a barnstorming try.

The Knights claimed the game 30-28.

2018 season stats:

Games: 23
Tries: 8
Try/LB assists: 2/3
Avg running metres: 75.5m
Tackles made: 455 (84% efficiency)
Line breaks: 7
Offloads: 8
Tackle breaks: 44