SIONE Mata'utia is going to be more than a handful for Super League defences this year.

That is Saints boss Kristian Woolf's view of the former Newcastle Knights backrower after two games in the red vee as a starting loose forward.

Mata'utia, who was a wingman when he became the youngest player to represent the Australia test team, still has the leg speed to go with his additional power.

And that will make him a real menace to defences as he slots into Saints' new-look back row.

He is currently starting at 13 in Morgan Knowles' absence, something he has not been accustomed to, but this week he increased his minutes from that first hit-out.

And he had plenty of good support around him from second rows James Bentley and fellow new recruit Joel Thompson.

Woolf said: “I thought both second rowers were really good against Hull KR.

"They both just worked really hard and played tough, doing a lot of unnoticed stuff and defended really well and scrapping away.

“I am really happy with them and I thought our whole back row was impressive.

"Sione was outstanding and they (Hull KR) didn’t handle him well.

"He is going to get better because he hasn’t started in the middle much until coming over here.

"He has usually started in the back row or come of the bench to play middle.

"It is different when you are starting there because it is a lot more intense with a lot more defensive work to be done.

"I really liked his aggression; he can whack them about defensively.

"He certainly showed how hard he is to handle with the ball. The more minutes we can give him and as he gets more used to it, he is is going to become even harder to handle."