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Peter Mata'utia could start at fullback for the Knights in 2017.

Having his three younger brothers by his side throughout pre-season training has handed prospective Newcastle Knights fullback Peter Mata'utia an edge in the race for the club's No.1 jumper.

Knights coach Nathan Brown has been rather vocal about who will play fullback for the club in 2017, claiming that either Mata'utia or two-game rookie Dylan Phythian would be given the nod.

While Mata'utia has spent the majority of his NRL career in the centres he is no stranger to the custodian role.

As he came through the grades in his first stint at the Knights Mata'utia was always preferred as a fullback by the likes of Brian Smith, Rick Stone and Wayne Bennett.

Now he has the opportunity to potentially feature in the NRL alongside all three of his younger brothers Sione, Pat and Chanel for the first time. 

Extra motivation lies in the fact the former Dragons utility has never played in a Round 1 fixture in his six years of first grade football.


"As they are my younger brothers, I have to try and lead the way for them," Mata'utia told

"But then you have Sione who at 20 is intelligent beyond his years. Us brothers all have different character traits which I think works well when we're all training together."

The message from the Knights camp throughout summer has been age won't be used as an excuse this season –  a brave mantra considering Newcastle have 'won' the past two wooden spoons. 

While Mata'utia has experience on his side, it's clear that won't cut it with Brown.

At 21, Phythian – a local Lakes United junior – is capable of playing anywhere in the spine.

While the two remain competitive on the paddock, Mata'utia and Phythian have forged quite the friendship off it sharing a common interest in the NBA. 

"He's good friends with Sione and as a result I've become good friends with Dylan too. I love the kid. He's a character and I have a lot of respect and time for 'Pyth'," Mata'utia said.

"He's a great talent and I was so glad the club re-signed him after his debut. He's probably the fittest at the club too I think so I'll have to think of ways to beat him in other ways. 

"Having good competition is always positive. It makes you a better person and it's good for the team as well when you have good players fighting for spots."

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