Suaia Matagi

Suaia Matagi (born 23 March 1988), also known by the nickname of "Sui", is a professional rugby league footballer who plays as a prop for the Castleford Tigers in the Betfred Super League, on a season long loan from the Huddersfield Giants. He is both a New Zealand and Samoan international.

Sui Matagi
Sui Matagi.jpg
Personal information
Full nameSuaia Matagi
Born (1988-03-23) 23 March 1988 (age 33)
Auckland, New Zealand
Height187 cm (6 ft 2 in)
Weight107 kg (16 st 12 lb)
Playing information
PositionProp
Club
Years Team Pld T G FG P
2013–15 New Zealand Warriors 36 1 0 0 4
2015 Sydney Roosters 7 0 0 0 0
2016 Penrith Panthers 23 0 0 0 0
2017–18 Parramatta Eels 35 0 0 0 0
2018– Huddersfield Giants 36 1 0 0 4
2021– Castleford Tigers (loan) 4 0 0 0 0
Total 141 2 0 0 8
Representative
Years Team Pld T G FG P
2013–17 Samoa 7 2 0 0 8
2014 New Zealand 1 0 0 0 0
2021 Combined Nations All Stars 1 0 0 0 0
As of 18 June 2021
Source: [1]

He previously played for the New Zealand Warriors, Sydney Roosters, Penrith Panthers and the Parramatta Eels in the NRL.

Early lifeEdit

Matagi was born in Auckland, New Zealand to Samoan parents, the second youngest of six brothers.[2] He attended Kelston Boys' High School[3] before dropping out at age 14, having become involved in gang violence, and heavy alcohol abuse.[2][4]

In 2006, at the age of 17, Matagi was sentenced to three years in prison for assaulting two boys during a drunken rage that occurred when he was 15.[5] He served his sentence at Mount Eden Prison, and later Manawatu Prison;[2] his participation in rehabilitation courses saw him granted parole after one year.[6]

Playing careerEdit

Following his release from prison, Matagi took up rugby league in 2008, having never previously played any organised sport. He played for the Te Atatu Roosters, and later the Mount Albert Lions in the Auckland Rugby League competition. Matagi was selected to play for the Auckland representative team, and the New Zealand Residents[4] for four consecutive years between 2009 and 2012.[5][7] He was named man of the match in Auckland's 44-34 victory over the South Island Scorpions in the National Competition's 2011 Grand Final.[8]

New Zealand WarriorsEdit

Matagi made his debut for the Auckland Vulcans, the New Zealand Warriors' feeder team, in the New South Wales Cup on 3 April 2010. He played regularly for the Vulcans in 2012, and was named 2012 New Zealand domestic player of the year. Matagi trialed with the Warriors during the 2013 pre-season, impressing coach Matthew Elliott enough to earn an NRL contract.[9][10]

Matagi made his NRL debut for the Warriors on 11 May 2013 against the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs at Westpac Stadium.[4] On 11 June 2013, he re-signed with the Warriors until the end of 2014.[3] Matagi played 11 games for the Warriors in 2013, scoring a try in their match against the Penrith Panthers in round 23. On 22 September 2013, Matagi was named at prop in the 2013 New South Wales Cup Team of the Year.[11]

Matagi was a member of the Warriors' squad that played in the 2014 and 2015 Auckland Nines pre-season tournaments. On 2 March 2014, Matagi re-signed with the Warriors until the end of 2016.[12] He played in all 24 of the Warriors' regular season games in 2014, but played in only 1 game during the first half of 2015 before being dropped to the Warriors' New South Wales Cup team.

 
Matagi playing for the Warriors in 2015

In May 2015, Matagi requested, and was granted, a release from his contract with the Warriors in order to sign with the Sydney Roosters effective immediately.[13]

Stuff.co.nz, and The Sydney Morning Herald described Matagi as having built a cult following during his time at the Warriors.[12][14]

Sydney RoostersEdit

Upon moving to the Roosters, Matagi played for their feeder club, the Wyong Roos, in the New South Wales Cup. An injury to Jared Waerea-Hargreaves saw Matagi play 7 games for the Roosters in the back-end of 2015.[14]

Penrith PanthersEdit

On 4 November 2015, Matagi signed a one-year contract with the Penrith Panthers, with an option for a second year.[15] He was a late addition to the Panthers' 2016 Auckland Nines squad following an injury to Reagan Campbell-Gillard.[16] Matagi was a regular for the Panthers' in 2016, playing a total of 23 games.

Parramatta EelsEdit

In November 2016, Matagi signed a two-year contract with the Parramatta Eels.[17][18] Matagi was part of the Parramatta side which finished fourth on the table and made the finals for the first time since 2009.[19] In 2018, Matagi started the first two games of the season from the interchange bench. Following Parramatta's humiliating 54-0 Round 2 up defeat by Manly, Matagi was left out of the Parramatta side by coach Brad Arthur but was recalled 5 weeks later in Round 7 where Parramatta defeated Manly 44-10. Matagi played a total of nine games for Parramatta in the 2018 NRL season as the club endured a horrid campaign finishing last on the table.[20]

 
Matagi playing for the Wentworthville Magpies in 2018

In June 2018, Matagi was selected to play for NSW residents against the QLD residents side.[21]

Huddersfield GiantsEdit

On 1 July 2018, Matagi signed a two-year deal to join English side Huddersfield beginning in 2019. Matagi said of the move "I am extremely excited to take my football to the next level under the leadership of coach Simon Woolford and I'm also looking forward to the challenge of playing in the English Super League, joining a proud club like the Huddersfield Giants is a privilege and I will represent our fans to the best of my ability".[22]

Castleford TigersEdit

On 25 November 2020, it was reported that he had signed a season-long loan for Castleford in the Super League from Huddersfield.[23]

Representative careerEdit

Matagi made his international debut for Samoa at the 2013 World Cup, playing in all four of their matches, scoring tries against New Zealand and Papua New Guinea. In May 2014, Matagi played for Samoa in the 2014 Pacific Rugby League test against Fiji to qualify for the 2014 Four Nations.

In October 2014, Matagi was named in both the New Zealand and Samoan Four Nations squads.[24] He opted to represent New Zealand,[25] playing in one of their four matches, against Samoa.

Matagi was named in New Zealand's train-on squad for the 2016 Four Nations,[26] but was not included in the final team.[27]

On 25 June 2021 he played for the Combined Nations All Stars in their 26-24 victory over England, staged at the Halliwell Jones Stadium, Warrington, as part of England’s 2021 Rugby League World Cup preparation.

Personal lifeEdit

Matagi is a Christian.[5][6] He is a father of four children with his partner Fai.[2]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Suaia Matagi - Career Stats & Summary". Rugby League Project. Retrieved 2015-10-27.
  2. ^ a b c d Hooper, James (7 May 2016). "How three years in prison inspired Penrith prop Suaia Matagi's successful rugby league career". Fox Sports. Retrieved 4 October 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Vodafone Warriors re-sign quintet". warriors.kiwi. 11 June 2013. Retrieved 6 October 2016.
  4. ^ a b c Stanley, Ben (7 July 2013). "Matagi's journey: From prison to Mt Smart". stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 4 October 2016.
  5. ^ a b c Lane, Daniel (12 January 2014). "NRL player Suaia Matagi on long, hard road from jail cell". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 4 October 2016.
  6. ^ a b Burgess, Michael (18 August 2013). "Matagi's crash course inside". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 6 October 2016.
  7. ^ "NZ Residents Premiers Team 2011 named". rleague.com. 19 October 2011. Archived from the original on 20 October 2011.
  8. ^ "Auckland Pride retain National title". rleague.com. 18 October 2011. Archived from the original on 20 October 2011.
  9. ^ "Strong Vulcan flavour in Warriors". Television New Zealand. 7 February 2013. Archived from the original on 10 February 2013.
  10. ^ Rosser, Corey (7 May 2013). "League star on an inspirational journey". Waikato Independent.
  11. ^ "2013 NSWRL.com.au VB NSW Cup Team of the Year - Announcement". NSWRL.com.au. 22 September 2013. Archived from the original on 11 January 2014.
  12. ^ a b Long, David (2 March 2014). "From prison to the penthouse - Suaia Matagi". stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 4 October 2016.
  13. ^ Harvey, Sarah (15 May 2015). "Warriors prop Suaia Matagi inks deal with the Sydney Roosters after seeking early release". stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
  14. ^ a b Lane, Daniel (31 August 2015). "Roosters prop Jared Waerea-Hargreaves tips Suaia Matagi to strike fear in opposition defenders". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 6 October 2016.
  15. ^ "Matagi joins the Panthers". penrithpanthers.com.au. 4 November 2015. Retrieved 4 November 2015.
  16. ^ Kennedy, Chris (5 February 2016). "Surprise call-up sends Panthers' Matagi home". NRL.com.
  17. ^ "Eels sign Suaia Matagi". parraeels.com.au. 10 November 2016. Retrieved 11 November 2016.
  18. ^ "Parramatta Has Just Announced ANOTHER Signing". Triple M. 10 November 2016. Retrieved 11 November 2016.
  19. ^ "Matagi the Eels' new strike weapon". National Rugby League. 8 March 2017. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  20. ^ "Peter Sterlings biggest fear after horror campaign". www.foxsports.com.au.
  21. ^ "FINAL TEAM - Intrust Super NSW Residents". New South Wales Rugby League. 24 June 2018. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  22. ^ "Huddersfield Giants sign Samoa prop Suaia Matagi from Parramatta". Sky Sports. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  23. ^ "Castleford bring in Suaia Matagi on loan from Huddersfield". Love Rugby League. 25 Nov 2020. Retrieved 27 Jan 2021.
  24. ^ Beswick, Angela (7 October 2014). "Four Nations: Matagi selected by NZ, Samoa". Newshub. Retrieved 6 October 2016.
  25. ^ Skipwith, David (10 October 2014). "Matagi chooses Kiwis over Samoa". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 6 October 2016.
  26. ^ "Kiwis add eight to train-on squad". NRL.com. 21 September 2016. Retrieved 6 October 2016.
  27. ^ Risso, Angelo (4 October 2016). "Kiwis stick with Bromwich as skipper". NRL.com. Retrieved 6 October 2016.

External linksEdit