Star forward “close to agreeing” huge Super League contract

Leeds Rhinos, Wigan Warriors, Warrington Wolves, Hull FC, Hull KR and Huddersfield Giants have all completed major signings from the NRL for 2024 so it has been forgotten that St Helens have pulled off one of the biggest Super League signings for years bringing in former Man of Steel Daryl Clark from Warrington Wolves to replace the retiring James Roby.

The Saints’ focus has been mostly on retaining star players like James Bell, Curtis Sironen and Konrad all of whom have signed new deal.

Now it seems star man Sione Mata’utia is close to agreeing a new deal himself.

According to Paul Wellens on Saints TV, a deal is “close.”

He said: “I think we’re close to agreeing something with Sione. I’ve said all along in terms of Sione that we’re prepared to be patient with him because he’s someone that we think a lot of at the club.

“He’s also someone who we understand that not just Sione, but his partner and his kids, when they spend time away from family for prolonged periods, it’s not always easy.

“It’s important that we allow him that time, but we’re hopeful that Sione will extend his stay with us.

“If he does choose to do that, we’ll be delighted, because not only is he a wonderful player, but he’s also a fantastic person as well. not only is he a wonderful player but he’s also a fantastic person as well.”

Wellens previously said: “Hopefully we can get that done as quick as possible.

“I mentioned a few weeks ago that it was important that we gave not just Sione, but his family, time to have a think about whether staying in the UK was something that they wanted to do.

“Obviously he’s had those discussions now and it’s starting to look quite favourable on our part that he wants to stay around a bit longer. So hopefully – I’m due to see Mike Rush in a minute – so if we can get that sorted in the next hour, that’d be nice.

“The sooner the better because Sione is a brilliant person, wonderful player, and a really well-liked and valued member of the group. So you know we always want to. Keep those players around.”

Saints have also recently given new deals to the likes of Konrad Hurrell and James Bell, with those in charge at the Totally Wicked Stadium doing an excellent job to keep some of the clubs and Super League’s greatest talent.

Another player, Will Hopoate, also has an option in his contract that allows him to extend his contract to 2024, which would take his initial two-year deal to a full three-year contract, which would be a definite boost for the club – we can also confirm that the former Canterbury Bulldogs man is set to take up this option.

Tongan international Hopoate, who also played in Australia for Parramataa and Manly, joined Saints ahead of the 2022 campaign but his first season at the club was hampered by injuries.

Despite this, the 31-year-old has come storming back in 2023 to become a regular in the side and is now one of Saints’ key players, so his decision to stay, much like that of Mata’utia, will know doubt delight the hierarchy at four-tim back-to-back champions St Helens.