St Helens have confirmed the signing of back rower Sione Mata’utia on a two-year deal, with the option of a third.
The 24-year-old had been linked with a move to the club for several weeks and, following his release from Newcastle Knights, has now completed the transfer.
Mata’utia, who is the younger brother of Castleford outside back Peter, made his NRL debut in 2014, before becoming the youngest player to ever represent Australia, aged 18 years and 129 days.
He has since gone on to make over 120 NRL appearances, as well as picking up several caps for both the Kangaroos and Samoa.
He becomes Saints’ third new signing ahead of 2021, joining Joel Thompson and Agnatius Paasi at the Totally Wicked Stadium.
“I am really excited,” said Mata’utia. “I have been at the Knights since I was a junior so it was hard to leave, but it is an exciting move. I have heard nothing but good things about Saints from my brother and if I was moving to England it was definitely to Saints.
“I love the pressure of always trying to be the best and at the top is what excites me. People expect Saints to be at the top and I can’t wait to be a part of it.
“I have known Kristian Woolf for a long time since he coached me at the Knights and I have got along with him really well. He is an honest man and that is what I like about him and his coaching. Firm feedback is what takes my footy to the next level and I am looking forward to working with him.”
Saints head coach Kristian Woolf added:“Sione is a terrific person and I know that because I have coached him. He is a real good trainer and professional in regard to how he goes about his work. He is a good player and we see him as a bloke who can come in and play in the forwards for us and give us some real speed around the ruck as he has a good skill set.
“He can also play on an edge and offer us some ‘punch’ out there. He is a real strong defender too and he ticks a lot of boxes for us on and off the field. He will work really hard and want to make an impact on the side and he is going to fit into the group really well.”