Peter Mata’utia joins Leigh Centurions

Leigh Centurions have confirmed the signing of Newcastle Knights centre Peter Mata’utia on a three-year contract until the end of November 2020.

The eldest of four brothers to play in the NRL for the Knights, the 26-year-old centre was ever present in 2017 when he made 24 NRL appearances, scoring seven tries.

Mata’utia has made the decision to continue his career in England with the Centurions after a discussion with the club’s Head of Rugby, Keiron Cunningham in the face of interest from rival clubs.

A versatile player who can also play fullback or wing, he played fullback for Samoa in their 30-10 defeat against England at Campbelltown in May.

Centurions owner Derek Beaumont said: “This is a significant signing for the club and demonstrates one of the benefits of having Keiron at the club. I know that some people were disappointed when we did business with Warrington on Bryson Goodwin and I hope this news shows our clear intentions.

“Peter is a proven quality NRL player who has been ever present this season and has plenty of energy in his game. He has age on his side and will add a lot to the squad and be a pleasure to watch in a Leigh Centurions shirt.

“Although Peter joins us in the Championship, he is aware of our club’s ambitions and his signing is indicative of his belief in that vision. I look forward to welcoming him to our Famileigh.”

Born in Bankstown, Mata’utia represented Australian Schoolboys in 2008 and made his debut for Samoa in 2009, going on to make his NRL debut with Newcastle Knights in 2011. After being named in the NSW Cup Team of the Year in 2013 he moved to St George-Illawarra for the 2014 season, where he established himself as a regular in their NRL side.

He made 35 appearances for the Dragons, scoring eleven tries before re-joining the Knights in April 2016 and playing alongside his brothers Sione, Chanel and Alapati. With a total of 12 tries in 41 games for the Knights, his NRL career has seen him score 23 tries in 76 games.

Mata’utia , one of the Knights’ most consistent players during the season, recently announced on social media that he was leaving the Knights to pursue a career elsewhere after being unable to come to an agreement on a contract extension.

On his Instagram post he wrote: “I got the chance to come back and play for my hometown again and I enjoyed every minute of the last two years. I’ve known for a while what I wanted to do, I just didn’t know if it was the right choice. But my chapter here at the Knights has officially come to an end.”