Matthew Utai (born 25 May 1981) is a professional rugby league footballer who last played as a winger for the Auburn Warriors in the Ron Massey Cup. A New Zealand and Samoa international representative, he previously played for the Wests Tigers and the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, with whom he won the 2004 NRL premiership.
|Full name||Matthew Okeuy Utai|
|Born||25 May 1981|
Auckland, New Zealand
|Height||168 cm (5 ft 6 in)|
|Weight||103 kg (16 st 3 lb)|
Utai was born in Auckland, New Zealand.
Utai was a Berala Bears junior and came through the development squads at the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs. In 2000, he started the year in Jersey Flegg, but his form warranted promotion to the Reserve Grade side and he played in 16 matches including scoring two tries in the Grand Final victory.
Canterbury- Bankstown BulldogsEdit
Making his NRL debut in 2002 NRL season, he scored 13 tries in 21 appearances and played in only 2 losses all year. However, the club did not play in the semis because of salary cap breaches. He was named the Dally M Rookie of the Year. In 2003, he scored 21 tries in 27 games, including scoring triples in three consecutive games.
Near the end of 2004, Utai scored 11 tries in the space of 7 games. He was a member of Canterbury's Premiership-winning team, playing in the 2004 NRL grand final on the wing in their 16–13 victory over the Sydney Roosters, scoring two tries in the match.
In a 2006 match, Utai became the first player that season to be sent off, for a swinging arm on the Wests Tigers' Stuart Flanagan. He was suspended for five weeks. He played in the club's 2006 preliminary final defeat against the Brisbane Broncos where he scored a try in a 37-20 loss. At halftime, Canterbury had led the match 20-6.
In the 2007 NRL season, Utai missed nearly the entire year through injury, but returned in 2008 and made 12 appearances as Canterbury endured a horror year on and off the field which included star player Sonny Bill Williams walking out on the club midway through the season. Canterbury would finish last in 2008 after winning five games all year.
In 2009, Utai spent most of the season playing for the Bankstown City side in the NSW Cup. He became the only Canterbury-Bankstown player to win five premierships across all grades when Bankstown City won the grand final that year.
He originally signed the Crusaders Super League club for 2010 but failed to recover from a knee injury. Instead Utai joined NSW Country Rugby League Club, Young in Group 9. Utai was then released from Young and joined the Auburn Warriors. He would have signed with the Wests Tigers but Welsh Super League club Crusaders demanded a compensation fee of $130,00.
Utai joined the Wests Tigers in 2011, making his first appearance in the first round of the season. He was a regular on the wing throughout the season, and was re-signed for 2012, and signed a one-year extension in October 2012.
In 2017, Utai signed on with the Auburn Warriors in the Ron Massey cup. On 24 September, he scored the only try for Auburn in their Ron Massey Cup grand final defeat by The Wentworthville Magpies.
Utai is of Samoan descent and made himself available for Samoa's 2008 Rugby League World Cup campaign. He was named in the Samoa squad, and went on to score two tries in his three appearances on the wing.
- First Grade debut: 2002 - Round 4, Canterbury-Bankstown vs South Sydney Rabbitohs at Aussie Stadium, 5 April
- Premierships: 2004 - Canterbury-Bankstown vs Sydney Roosters
- Representative selection: 2002 - New Zealand vs Australia, Wellington, New Zealand, scoring one try
- Awards: 2002 - Dally M Rookie of the Year
- Falcon: 2011 - Best Falcon Ever
- UTAI, MATTHEW OKEUY 2002 - 2005 - KIWI #694 Archived 2012-04-02 at the Wayback Machine nzleague.co.nz
- League Central
- "Statistics at rugbyleagueproject.org". rugbyleagueproject.org. 31 December 2017. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
- Matt Utai Tribute Archived 2010-11-28 at the Wayback Machine rleague.com, 10 October 2009
- "Dally M Rookie Of The Year". rugby league project. Retrieved 21 April 2012.
- "Retro match report: Canterbury Bulldogs beat Sydney Roosters in 2004 NRL grand final". Daily Telegraph.
- "Utai gets five-week ban for high shot". Sydney Morning Herald.
- "Broncos bury Bulldogs with record comeback". www.abc.net.au.
- "Most boring team ever? 2008 wooden spoon Bulldogs would beat 2017 version by twenty points". The81stminute.
- "Brian Noble snaps up Matt Utai for Crusaders - Mirror Online". Mirror.co.uk. 21 November 2009. Retrieved 8 September 2013.
- "Clock ticking for Crusaders". Sky Sports.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 6 July 2011. Retrieved 12 January 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "Matt Utai signs with Wests Tigers for one more year". Daily Telegraph (Sydney). 1 December 2011. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
- Adrian Proszenko (7 October 2012). "Eels poised to do some hard time". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 4 November 2012.
- "Mateo forced to declare his allegiance". LeagueHQ. 30 April 2008. Archived from the original on 2 May 2008. Retrieved 29 April 2008.
- "Samoa name World Cup Squad". League Unlimited. 5 August 2008. Archived from the original on 17 July 2011. Retrieved 6 August 2008.
- "Samoa, Tonga and Fiji name squads". BBC. 8 October 2008. Retrieved 9 October 2008.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Matt Utai.|