Peter Mata’utia says brother Sione ‘gutted’ over Challenge Cup final ban

Castleford centre Peter Mata’utia says his younger brother Sione is “gutted and angry” to remain suspended for Saturday’s Betfred Challenge Cup final but is confident he can overcome the setback.

Wednesday, 14th July 2021, 2:37 pm
Updated Wednesday, 14th July 2021, 2:38 pm
Peter Mata’utia
Peter Mata’utia

Sione, a second row forward in his first season with Wembley finalists St Helens, was given two one-match bans for foul play during his side’s Super League game at Wakefield last Friday and succeeded in overturning only one of them.

“I spoke to him last night and he’s pretty gutted to be honest and angry at the same time,” Peter told a news conference he was originally meant to share with his brother.

“I’ve seen him work pretty hard since a young kid and I can’t think of anyone else who deserves to be on a stage like Wembley this week.

“But it is what it is. We all know Saints will be always be there somewhere, so he’ll get another shot no doubt.”

Peter Mata’utia shouldered much of the responsibility for his three younger brothers and three sisters as they witnessed domestic violence growing up in the Bankstown suburb of Sydney where his mother Matalena worked two jobs to provide for her family.

The 30-year-old, who spends much of his time raising awareness of mental health issues, says Sione is strong enough to bounce back from his latest disappointment.

“He’s been though a lot worse to honest,” he said. “He captained Newcastle to both wooden spoons and did it pretty tough there.

“To see what our mum went through, this is just part of our journey. He’s a big boy and he’ll be able to handle it.

“I was pretty buzzed for it to happen. For me to be there is exciting but to see my brother there as well, it would have meant all the sacrifices that my mum made when we were little were still paying off.”

Peter Mata’utia is playing his final season with the Tigers as he prepares to follow coach Daryl Powell to Warrington for 2022 and admits victory at Wembley would provide a fitting farewell.

“It’s up there with my brothers all getting to debut, this is probably one of the highlights of my career,” he said.

“Grand Finals don’t come around too often and I’ve only got two wooden spoons to my name so I wouldn’t mind adding a trophy.

“I’m excited for the boys that are leaving and for the boys who have been here for 10 years.”

It is 35 years since Castleford last won at Wembley and Peter Mata’utia says a change in personal fortunes in rugby league’s famous knock-out competition is also long-overdue.

“I haven’t had a great run in the Challenge Cup since I’ve been here,” said the centre, who joined the club from Leigh towards the end of the 2018 season.

“I feel like I lost it for Leigh when we played Leeds and when we played Hull FC last season I kicked the ball out on the full about ten times and it cost us the game.

“These chances don’t come around too often and I’ll do everything I can to try and get the trophy.”