Matagi signs to strengthen Tigers pack

Posted: Wednesday 25th November 2020 - 12:00 PM


The ex-New Zealand and Samoa international moves to the Mend-A-Hose Jungle on a one-year loan from Huddersfield Giants, where he has become a regular force in the Betfred Super League following spells with New Zealand Warriors, Sydney Roosters, Penrith Panthers and Parramatta Eels in the NRL.

One of the pack leaders during his time at the Giants, Matagi is a no-nonsense front-rower who stands at 6ft 2in and tips the scales at 17 stone, with head coach Daryl Powell excited about his potential to “dismantle defensive lines” for the Fords.

Following the signing of a similar physical presence in Lewis Bienek earlier this week, Matagi’s arrival provides further go-forward options for the Tigers to complement current First Team regulars Liam Watts, Grant Millington, George Griffin and Tyla Hepi.

Speaking to castlefordtigers.com, Matagi said: I’m definitely excited for the new challenge and I’m looking forward to adding into the side.

“I know a few of the boys already and played against them a few times, every time we’ve played Castleford we always have some tough encounters and I know they are a tough, resilient team who always bounce back. Castleford is rich in history so being here and being a part of it, I’m excited to join and see what we can do in 2021.

“One thing I know with my story and being a late bloomer is resilience, I had to take a lot of knockbacks and a ‘get down seven times and rise eight’ mentality and attitude, that’s where it’s got me so far. I know with that resilient mindset and positive attitude going forward I think I can add a bit of value coming into 2021 for Castleford Tigers.”

And for the Tigers fans, Matagi added: “Buckle up, get ready for next year. I know 2020 has been one hell of a year but come ’21 I believe we’re going to do something special and I’m looking forward to it.”

Suaia Matagi will be proudly sponsored by CS Auto Electrics Castleford for the 2021 season.

With the arrival of Bienek providing a younger option in the squad with the same physical presence as Matagi, head coach Daryl Powell is now delighted to add another experienced front-rower of international pedigree to the Cas ranks for 2021 after swooping quickly to secure Matagi’s signature.

He said: One of the areas we wanted to improve was our go-forward and our ability to dismantle defensive lines with brute strength and we’ve been able to add a couple of players there that I think will really help us.

“Suaia is a go-forward player who we have found difficult to handle in the past with his ability to get the ball on the floor and play it quickly. He’s an experienced player, someone who can come in and you know what you’re going to get. He goes from A to B pretty quickly and I think he will be a great addition for us.”

Tigers Director of Rugby Jon Wells added: “The Tigers are extending a warm welcome to Suaia Matagi for the new season. Sui is exactly what we have been looking for in a big, aggressive, disruptive middle and he is a player of international quality. He will be charging forward from the back fence at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle throughout 2021 and I’m sure he will become a fan favourite pretty quickly.”

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