Mata'utia brothers aiming to break Burgesses' record
HE'S Australia's youngest ever Test player but this year Sione Mata'utia's goal is to play for another country.
Having never played with his three brothers at the top level, the 20-year-old has revealed he and his siblings are making themselves eligible to represent Samoa in the rugby league World Cup.
Peter, Chanel and Pat have never lined up alongside Sione at club level, let alone in a Test side.
It's a goal the foursome discussed in the off-season and something that would touch the heart of their single mother, Matalena.
"I definitely want to represent Samoa this year,” Mata'utia said.
"It would be something special for my nan and my mum and my Samoan family. They'd really love that back home and that would be a proud moment.
"Everyone is keen. It would really be a proud moment for my family.”
Should all four Mata'utia brothers make Samoa's World Cup squad, they would remarkably surpass the trio of Burgess brothers picked for England in the 2013 tournament (Sam, George and Tom were selected, with only Luke Burgess omitted).
The passion for Samoa is something that's been manifesting for some time but when Sione and his brothers started their own charity, that's when the desire started burning the hottest.
The Mata'utia foundation was established to give back to the Newcastle community and help disadvantaged youth.
The brothers do that by sponsoring local netball teams and giving clothes to those in need.
During his off-season break, Mata'utia flew to Samoa to see family and took a bag filled with football gear for the local children.
"I went to Samoa in the holidays with my partner,” he said.
"It made me real proud of where I come from.
"My older brother started a foundation so we took some boots to the villages over on the islands and my mum put us in contact with my uncle who has a league team. We took some boots and joggers and had a talk with them.
"We had a holiday at the same time. It was nice to try and help out where we can and give back to the islands.”
Approaching 50 NRL games after just three seasons, Mata'utia's ride to the top has been a whirlwind.
Debuting for Australia in his rookie year, he found himself in reserve grade throughout stages the following season.
Having played on the wing, centre and fullback, he found a home in the back row last season.
It's a move that will be permanent.
Mata'utia has spent the pre-season adding an extra five kilos to his frame while still keeping the speed that put him on the rugby league map in 2014.
"I found the full pre-season very beneficial,” he said.
"Having the pre-season to learn gave me a good base. The preparation at back row to centre is very different because of the workload.
"I know I need to focus on this role now and knuckle down. Back row is my future.”
With three Tests in the green and gold to his name, he's yet to taste Origin.
It's a big goal but one Mata'utia has set for himself.
He knows it won't be easy with the likes of Boyd Cordner, Tyson Frizell and Josh Jackson in his way but it's one he's willing to fight for. But it starts in club land and consistency is key.
"There's always a representative jersey in the back of the mind,” he said.
"I'd be lying if I said I wasn't thinking about it but it starts by playing good at club footy. But I'm always thinking about that Blues jersey.”