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Injury forces Mata'utia back out wide

In a perfect world, with no injuries, Sione Mata’utia would play in the back row.

But this is rugby league…. and anything can happen!

Current injuries in the Knights backline have caused a shift in the starting line-up.

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Shaun Kenny-Dowall and Hymel Hunt have been ruled out of this weekend’s trial match at Maitland.

Tau Tau Moga is also not quite ready… and will be sweating on his fitness for Round 1.

So for Mata’utia that means shifting back to the centres for the Knights clash against the Sharks, with Kurt Mann named on the wing.

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Newcastle Knights coach Nathan Brown admits if injuries persist, there’s every chance Mata’utia could find himself back out wide a lot more.

But he isn’t too worried about the possible change.

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“His last weeks at training he has spent a lot of time in the centres, so he’s well prepared there and also well prepared in the back row,” said Brown.

“Great for the club that one of his attributes is that he can play in the back row and he can play in the centres.”

“Wherever he plays, I’m confident he’ll do a really good job.”

Hopefully for the 22-year-old though, he gets to rack up some hours in the back row this season.

The Knights utility impressing coaching staff during pre-season training.

“Sione has been training very well in that position, he has had a really good pre-season,” said Brown.

“He played a lot of footy there last year so he’s a little more ready to play there.

“He’s done the hard training and he’s a little bit more mature.”