Chanel climbs Mata'utia try-scoring ladder
"Was that OK?"
That’s how budding Newcastle winger Chanel Mata'utia finished his interview with the media following his starring role in the Knights' 42-12 win over Parramatta.
While the timid 22-year-old was unnecessarily apologetic for his post-game chat, Newcastle fans were doing nothing but singing the South Newcastle junior's praises after he scored his maiden NRL hat-trick.
With his little brother, 18-year-old Sione scoring a hat-trick a fortnight ago and a further double against Parramatta to make it a combined five-try effort between the two on Saturday, the second-eldest brother – after Dragons centre Peter – admits there is a sneaky try scoring competition happening at the Mata'utia household which is currently tied up at five-apiece leading into the final round of the season.
"Don't worry, I'll get him," Mata'utia laughed.
"There is a competition and you don't want to be beaten by your little brother so it is on. We joke around and give it to each other at home.
"It is amazing [though] and I'm just really happy to score a hat-trick as well as get the win."
Knights coach Wayne Bennett was complimentary of the two brothers following Newcastle's resounding win and believes the decision to have them on the flanks following season-ending injuries to James McManus and Akuila Uate has worked "really well".
"Sione was always going to be a top player and nobody has doubted that since they first saw him play but Chanel, when I first came here a couple of years ago, was so far off the pace it didn't matter," Bennett said.
"It is a real credit to him that he has done a good job with himself and bought into what we have done at training and he is a very good player.
"He always had the ability but never the right attitude earlier on so it is nice to see and I think it's a special thing to see two brothers play in any team at any stage."
Mata'utia acknowledged Bennett's claims that he had areas to work on but was ultimately blessed to make his debut alongside Sione back in Round 20 in their amazing win over the Sydney Roosters.
"It is good to see him get a debut and it was even better when I made mine in the same game so it was like two birds, one stone really," Mata'utia said.
"I'm just thankful to get the opportunity to debut. I've had a few areas over the years that I have had to work on which obviously I have since then."
While his stint in the NRL will come to an end next week against older brother Peter and the Dragons, Mata'utia will gear up for the NSW Cup finals with the club finishing second in the reserve grade competition.