No love lost for Mata’utia brothers on the pitch as they do battle

Sione Mata'utia (left) of St Helens and Castleford's Peter Mata'utia (right)

The pair have got to grips with each other in the past in the NRL with ugly consequences and sparks could fly when Sione’s St Helens take on Peter’s Castleford in the Betfred Super League at the Totally Wicked Stadium on Thursday.

Their scheduled meeting in the Challenge Cup final never happened when Sione was handed a one-match ban, while the league fixture between the clubs in June was cancelled because the Tigers were unable to raise a team.

The duo squared up to each other via a zoom press conference on Wednesday afternoon and Peter, the oldest of four rugby playing brothers, shed some light on their feisty on-field relationship.

“We’ve played each other a fair bit in the past and we’ve gotten into a few punch-ups and stuff like that,” he said.

“I think it’s because we don’t treat each other any different, it just makes it feel like it’s a little bit personal but it never was.

“Growing up, I’ve always told my brothers it doesn’t matter who you come up against, whether it’s your cousin or your own sibling, if they’re not wearing the same jersey as you, you don’t treat them any different to anyone else.

“That’s the feeling that everyone will get on Thursday. I’ll treat him the same as any other player.”

Peter Mata’utia in action for Castleford

Peter, who is in his final season with Castleford as he prepares to join Warrington, started his career with Newcastle Knights but went up against his brothers during a stint with St George Illawarra Dragons.

“When one of my team-mates had a carry one time, I could see one of my brothers coming in as third man so I sort of blocked him off and he didn’t like that,” he said.

“He grabbed my collar and sent me flying. I didn’t like that so I chased after him. That’s how it started.

“I’m hoping it’s different this time, I’m trying to be more professional about it but it honestly depends on what Sione does to me this time.”

Sione, at 25 the youngest of the four brothers, admits he may have been the instigator in the past.

He said: “I do remember one moment when I probably stepped over the line and threw a little cheeky elbow while he was on the ground and it all kicked off after that.

“It’s going to be fun but at the end of the day we’ve a job to do and we’ve got to try and focus on our team goals.”

If it gets ugly on Thursday night, the Mata’utia brothers can expect a swift rebuke from their mother, who will be watching the game on television from Australia.

“She can’t stand it,” said Sione. “We’re still her young kids to her and she still rings us to tell us to stop fighting.”

Sione Mata’utia of St Helens in action

Once the final whistle goes on Thursday, the combativeness will end, and there was a touching moment at the end of the Challenge Cup final when a tearful Peter received a consoling embrace from Sione following the Tigers’ 26-12 defeat.

“It was a bittersweet moment,” Sione recalled. “Beforehand I was celebrating like a crazy monkey and then seeing how Pete was as I was approaching, I sort of realised it was a pretty harsh moment for the other side.

“I was telling him to keep his head up because he played really well and his team played really well.”

St Helens can go top of the table, at least for 24 hours, with victory while Castleford are seeking their first away win over Saints since 1992.

“There’s a first time for everything,” said Castleford coach Daryl Powell. “We’ve got to believe we can go there and forget about anything that’s happened in the past, it’s about what happens now.

“We’ve a tough challenge to get into the six so we have to make it mean more to us than it does to them.”

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