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Sione Mata’utia set to sign new deal with Super League champions St Helens

We have seen players at Leeds Rhinos, Wigan Warriors, St Helens, Warrington Wolves and Hull FC linked with big moves to the NRL over recent weeks, as clubs step up their recruitment charge for the 2024 season.

The likes of Leigh Leopards star Lachlan Lam and Salford Red Devils star Brodie Croft have been linked with moves down under, whilst Jake Clifford will be headed to North Queensland Cowboys after just one season at Hull FC.

Lam is a target of Canberra Raiders whilst Croft is linked with Wests Tigers, as is Leeds star Aidan Sezer, with NRL clubs looking to Super League for more options in the halves after the recent success of former Man of Steel Jackson Hastings.

Elsewhere, Kai Pearce-Paul’s move to Newcastle Knights has already been confirmed, alongside Huddersfield Giants star Will Pryce, meanwhile Warrington signed George Williams to a new deal to fend off interest from down under.

But the club whose players have been linked with the most NRL moves is champions St Helens, after the Saints won the World Club Challenge earlier the season against Penrith Panthers, many down under believe that most of those players that defeated the NRL’s best have the ability to cut it in rugby league’s premier competition.

Jack Welsby, Lewis Dodd and Curtis Sironen have all been linked to the NRL this season, the latter of which signed a new deal recently. Another name that keeps popping up is Sione Mata’utia, but he is now also set to sign a new deal now as the Saints underline their intentions to remain on top as they continue to fend of NRL interest in many of their players.

“Hopefully we can get that done as quick as possible,” Saints head coach Paul Wellens said. “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.”

Following the words of Wellens, Serious About Rugby League can now confirm that a new deal between St Helens and Mata’utia is set to be finalised in the coming days, with an announcement due before the end of this week.

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.

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