Mata’utia turns his back on fullback

Peter Mata’utia says he will not be returning to fullback once the season resumes.

The departure of Castleford’s fullback, Jordan Rankin, was confirmed last week, with the Australian immediately returning to his homeland.

That has left a question mark over who will fulfil that role when the Tigers are back on the field.

Mata’utia was Castleford’s previous first-choice fullback and has spent the majority of his time with the club playing in that position.

However, he was moved to centre at the start of the season and has made the role his own, impressing on the edge for Daryl Powell’s side.

Speaking to League Express, Mata’utia revealed he would not be going back to his old position when Super League returns.

“I’ll be staying at centre, Powelly has a plan for that fullback spot,” he said.

“I’m sweet with it too. I’ve got a big job with our right-edge at the moment and a key role in our edge. I really enjoy it; I like it a lot.”

Playing at centre, the 29-year-old has shown off his offensive qualities alongside his yardage prowess, which he had displayed at fullback.

He has also been part of a potent right-edge attack that has benefited from Castleford’s new style of play that they implemented this year.

“We’ve worked hard; Mikey (Mike McMeeken), Dee (Derrell Olpherts), Danny (Richardson) and I want to be the best defensive edge in the comp, which isn’t easy because the best-attacking edge for most teams is their left.

“But our right edge is just as good if not better than our left. I’m not too sure if Castleford had that issue back in the day, but while I’ve been here that edge has always been good but they just didn’t use it enough. The new style we’re playing allows us to pick which edge is the right one.

“We’re still expansive, but we also want to pick the right options. In the past they’ve gone left even if it wasn’t on, but any good rugby brain knows it’s a numbers game, but often the right edge is just used for defending.

“We’ve learnt to play fast, flat and with intent, all to help Macca get out and run and get our team a roll-on. That’s my and Dee’s role for the most part. We’re looking to open the run for Macca, which the club hasn’t had for a long time, allowing him the space to get out and run out of the ruck.”