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I"l be a marked man in 2015: Mata’utia

Australia’s youngest ever Test debutant Sione Mata’utia is expecting to be heavily targeted during the 2015 NRL season after emerging as one of the game’s brightest young stars during the Four Nations tournament.

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Mata’utia did not look out of his depth on the right wing in his first Kangaroos start in the win against England last week.

The utility back shapes as a key player for Newcastle next season under returning coach Rick Stone, who will be without representative star Darius Boyd.

Mata’utia, who can play wing, centre or fullback, has only played seven NRL games, but now that the rugby league world knows who the 18-year-old is, he knows opposition players will be ready for him next season.

“They will know about me know but I will be ready for that,” Mata’utia told AAP.

“That won’t change anything for me, you can do as much video as they want on people and they can still school you up.

“But people are going to start talking and there is going to be a lot of pressure that comes with that and a lot of outside influences and I’m not going to let that get to me, I will just stay strong and carry on.”

Mata’utia has again been named in coach Tim Sheens’ side for Sunday’s final-round Four Nations clash against Samoa in Wollongong, ahead of a probable finals berth in Wellington the week after.

After that he is looking forward to a break then a big pre-season.

“I have to get into next season on the back of good pre-season and see what happens,” he said.

“I am still young at the club, there are some good players there like Akuila Uate and Jimmy McManus who are very experienced.

“I’m not too sure at the moment how I will fit in or where I will be playing.

“I am just going to enjoy playing for Australia, it gives me a little bit of experience and then I will take things from there.”

Mata’utia became Australia’s youngest Kangaroo at 18 years and 129 days old against England, eclipsing the record set by Israel Folau and Brad Fittler before him.

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