Matalena Mata'utia with her Newcastle boys Pat, Chanel and Sione.
Matalena Mata'utia with her Newcastle boys Pat, Chanel and Sione.

Mata’utia exits as Knights overhaul continues

NEWCASTLE'S sweeping roster changes continue ahead of next season with yet another player departing.

Chanel Mata'utia has been release from the final year of his contract, effectively retiring from top flight football.

Having returned for pre-season training without the passion to continue playing at the elite level, Mata'utia is now in talks with three local league clubs where he will play while working fulltime.

It's understood the father of two boys under the age of six is considering employment in the mines, a career which would pay half his NRL wage for 2018.

"The club has been great to me and I will miss everyone, but it is the right time for me to step away from the game at this level," Mata'utia said.

"I plan to play in the local competition and find a job, as my family and I move on to the next stage of our lives.

Matalena Mata'utia with her boys Chanel, Sione and Pat.
Matalena Mata'utia with her boys Chanel, Sione and Pat.

"I am comfortable with my decision and want to thank everyone at the Club, and also the fans, for all of the support."

The Knights have let go 16 of their top 30 from last season in the biggest roster overhaul in the competition.

One of those men was forward Pauli Pauli.

He's signed a deal in the Super League.

Market Watch revealed earlier this month that Pauli was headed to Wakefield after the Knights opted not to re-sign the City Origin representative.

The 23-year-old's time in the hunter was a difficult one due to an injury-hit 2017 campaign.

Pauli suffered a dislocated hip in a car accident at the start of the year and then fractured his fibula before he could make a first-team appearance.

"Pauli is a great addition to what already is a strong-looking pack," said Wakefield coach Chris Chester.

Pauli Pauli of the Knights looks to pass.
Pauli Pauli of the Knights looks to pass.

"He will bring some real quality to our go-forward and bring an X-factor to our attacking play.

"He is a big strong powerful athlete with a good offloading game.

"I have had nothing but good reports from people in Australia about Pauli both on and off the field.

"I am really looking forward to working with him over the next few years and I am pretty sure he will become a fans' favourite."

The Bankstown product started his career with Parramatta in 2014 before moving to the Knights two years later falling two games short of 50 in the top grade.

Pauli has penned a one-year deal with the option of a further year.

Pauli Pauli with the City Origin team.
Pauli Pauli with the City Origin team.

 

2018 Gains: Herman Ese'ese (Broncos), Slade Griffin (Storm), Aidan Guerra (Roosters), Chris Heighington (Sharks), Jacob Lillyman (Warriors), Tautau Moga (Broncos), Kalyn Ponga (Cowboys), Connor Watson (Roosters), Christian Hazard (Redcliffe), Brent Naden (Raiders)

 

2018 Losses: Brendan Elliot (Titans), Dane Gagai (Rabbitohs), Rory Kostjasyn (retired), Peter Mata'utia (Leigh), Sam Mataora (retired), Jarrod Mullen (released), Mickey Paea (Hull FC), Josh Starling (Oberon), Anthony Tupou (retired), Joe Wardle (Castleford), Jacob Gagan (Rabbitohs), Jaelen Feeney (Townsville), Jack Stockwell (Titans), Chanel Mata'utia (released)

 

Re-Signed: Mitch Barnett (2020), Lachlan Fitzgibbon (2019), Tom Hughes (2018), Danny Levi (2020), Nick Meaney (2018), Dylan Phythian (2018), Nathan Ross (2020), Tom Starling (2018), Sam Stone (2018), Jack Johns (2018), Luke Yates (2018), Jacob Saifiti (2020), Daniel Saifiti (2020), Tyrone Amey (2018), Pasami Saulo (2020)



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