He represented the Australian Kangaroos at last year’s Four Nations but it seems Sione Mata’utia will have to bide his time after missing out on the 17 for Newcastle’s opening round match against the New Zealand Warriors on Saturday.
Wing veterans James McManus and Akuila Uate were preferred on the wings while Joey Leilua and Dane Gagai nabbed the centre positions.
“[There is] plenty of time to play plenty of first grade,” Mata’utia said at the Knights’ season launch.
‘‘The guys that have been here for years deserve respect, and I think it is important to learn from them before you get to take hold of the reins.
‘‘I’m pretty young and I reckon I’ve still got a lot to learn. I’m going to absorb everything the veterans have to tell me and when it is my time I’ll hopefully be ready.’’