Matagi takes top honours at ARL Awards
The trophy cabinet in the Matagi household bows a little more today after Suaia last night became the Auckland Vulcans Player of the Year.
It was the appropriate reward for what has been a break-through year for the rampaging front rower, who only started playing league competitively five years ago.
He has since gone on to become a regular in the Vodafone Warriors each week after earning a contract earlier this year.
The latest accolade, which was presented by coach Willie Swann in front of nearly 500 people at Mt Smart Stadium, is Suaia’s latest in a collection which includes Fox Memorial Player of the Year (2008) and New Zealand Domestic Player of the Year (2012).
A clearly humbled Matagi took time to thank the staff at all of the teams he has played in over the years, family and friends and applauded the Auckland Rugby League system which had created a clear pathway to success for him.
The runner up in the Vulcans Player of the Year award was utility back Tangi Ropati.
The fleet-footed former Samoan international has been a revelation since returning to Auckland following several years playing footy in Australia and the UK.
Rookie of the year went to John Palavi, the former Vodafone Junior Warriors captain who has quickly become a leader within the Vulcans squad.