Matt Utai

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Matt Utai
Matt Utai2.jpg
Utai in 2013
Personal information
Full name Matthew Okeuy Utai[1]
Born (1981-05-25) 25 May 1981 (age 33)
Auckland, New Zealand
Playing information
Height 168 cm (5 ft 6 in)
Weight 103 kg (16 st 3 lb)
Position Wing, Centre
Club
Years Team Pld T G FG P
2002–2009 Canterbury Bulldogs 127 71 0 0 284
2011–2013 Wests Tigers 40 14 0 0 56
Total 167 85 0 0 340
Representative
Years Team Pld T G FG P
2002–2005 New Zealand 4 2 0 0 8
2008 Samoa 3 2 0 0 8
Source: League Central RLP

Matthew Utai (born 25 May 1981 in Auckland, New Zealand) is a professional rugby league footballer. A New Zealand and Samoa international representative three-quarter back, he previously played for the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, with whom he won the 2004 NRL premiership and the Wests Tigers.

Playing career[edit]

Utai was a Berala Bears junior and came through the development squads at the Canterbury Bulldogs.[2] In 2000, Utai 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 against the Penrith Panthers.

Making his NRL debut in 2002 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.[3] 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 the Bulldogs' Premiership-winning team, playing in the 2004 NRL grand final on the wing in their 16–13 win over 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. Utai was suspended for five weeks.

In 2009 Utai spent most of the season playing for the Bankstown City side in the NSW Cup. He became the only Bulldogs player to win five premierships across all grades when Bankstown City won the grand final that year.[2]

He originally signed the Crusaders Super League club for 2010 but failed to recover from a knee injury.[4][5][6] Instead Utai joined NSW Country Rugby League Club, Young in Group 9.[7] Utai was then released from Young and joined the Auburn Warriors.[8] He would have signed with the Wests Tigers but Welsh Super League club Crusaders demanded a compensation fee of $130,000.

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,[9] and signed a one year extension in October 2012.[10]

Representative career[edit]

Utai was selected to represent the New Zealand National Team on four occasions between 2002 and 2005, all matches against Australia.

Utai is of Samoan descent and made himself available for Samoa's 2008 Rugby League World Cup campaign.[11][12] He was named in the Samoa squad, [13] and went on to score two tries in his three appearances on the wing.

Career highlights[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ UTAI, MATTHEW OKEUY 2002 - 2005 - KIWI #694 nzleague.co.nz
  2. ^ a b Matt Utai Tribute rleague.com, 10 October 2009
  3. ^ "Dally M Rookie Of The Year". rugby league project. Retrieved 21 April 2012. 
  4. ^ http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/sport/nrl/bulldogs-star-matt-utai-signs-with-celtic-crusaders-in-super-league/story-e6frexnr-1225787368206
  5. ^ "Brian Noble snaps up Matt Utai for Crusaders - Mirror Online". Mirror.co.uk. 2009-11-21. Retrieved 2013-09-08. 
  6. ^ "Clock ticking for Crusaders". Sky Sports. 
  7. ^ http://www.youngwitness.com.au/news/local/sport/rugby-league/cherrypickers-sign-utai/1712169.aspx
  8. ^ http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/sport/bungle-dogs-matt/story-e6freye0-1225853871102
  9. ^ "Matt Utai signs with Wests Tigers for one more year". Daily Telegraph (Sydney). 1 December 2011. Retrieved 3 January 2012. 
  10. ^ Adrian Proszenko (7 October 2012). "Eels poised to do some hard time". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 4 November 2012. 
  11. ^ "Mateo forced to declare his allegiance". LeagueHQ. 2008-04-30. Retrieved 2008-04-29. [dead link]
  12. ^ "Samoa name World Cup Squad". League Unlimited. 2008-08-05. Retrieved 2008-08-06. 
  13. ^ "Samoa, Tonga and Fiji name squads". BBC. 2008-10-08. Retrieved 2008-10-09. 

External links[edit]