|Whatuira in 2004|
|Full name||Paul Khan Whatuira|
|Nickname||Fatz, Cracka |
31 July 1981 |
Wellington, New Zealand
|Height||183 cm (6 ft 0 in)|
|Weight||92 kg (14 st 7 lb)|
|Source: League Central|
Paul Whatuira (born 31 July 1981 in Wellington, New Zealand, pronounced fah-tu-ee-ra) is a professional rugby league footballer who currently plays for the Parramatta Eels in the NRL. A New Zealand international centre, he won National Rugby League premierships with the Penrith Panthers and Wests Tigers and most recently achieved success with the Huddersfield Giants in the UK Super League.
Whatuira played his junior rugby league at Wainuiomata, near Wellington, where he played with former Huddersfield teammate David Faiumu. He also played rugby union as a schoolboy. He followed the Canberra Raiders as a child and idolised Mal Meninga.
Whatuira left Wellington at 17 to join the Auckland Warriors. He made his first grade debut for Auckland Warriors against Wests Tigers in the Leichhardt Oval on 14 February 2000, in Round 2. He played in four other first grade games for the Warriors that season, before leaving the club at the end of the year. During the 2000 season he was occasionally released to the Wainuiomata Lions and played in the Bartercard Cup.
He spent 2001 at the Melbourne Storm, playing in six first grade games.
Whatuira joined the Penrith Panthers in 2002 and became a first grade regular. He played left centre in the Panthers side that won the 2003 NRL grand final. As 2003 NRL premiers, the Panthers travelled to England to face Super League VIII champions, the Bradford Bulls in the 2004 World Club Challenge. Whatuira played at cenre in the Panthers' 22-4 loss. His 2003 premiership ring was stolen from his home along with his DVD player in 2005. Two years later the police recovered the ring when they raided a suspected criminal's home.
Whatuira joined the Wests Tigers in 2005 and played at centre in the Tigers' 2005 NRL Grand Final victory over the North Queensland Cowboys, gaining his second premiership ring. As NRL Premiers Wests faced Super League champions Bradford Bulls in the 2006 World Club Challenge. Whatuira played at centre in the Tigers' 30-10 loss. Whatuira had a forgettable 2006, he was sin-binned in the Tigers' loss to the North Queensland Cowboys in Townsville just before half-time with Matt Sing scoring in his absence. In the return match, he suffered a hamstring injury which was aggravated during the warm-up versus Brisbane Broncos meaning he would not play for the rest of the campaign.
After considering a switch to rugby union with the New South Wales Waratahs, Whatuira instead moved to England and joined the Huddersfield Giants in 2008 where he is contracted until the end of the 2010 season. Whatuira played in the Giants 2009 Challenge Cup final appearance, where they lost to the Warrington Wolves.
On 21 December 2010, Whatuira signed a one year deal with the Parramatta Eels for the 2011 season. Whatuira is expected to fill the void left in the backline by departing senior players of Eric Grothe Jr and Timana Tahu. Eels CEO Paul Osborne stated that "Paul Whatuira is a proved international performer who brings class and experience to our backline". However, Whatuira retired after just appearing in one game for the Eels.
Whatuira represented the New Zealand national team on ten occasions between 2004 and 2006, including the 24-0 win over Australia at Elland Road in the 2005 Tri Nations tournament, in which he scored a try. Whatuira was also selected in the 19-man squad for the one-off New Zealand vs Australia Centenary test in Wellington, New Zealand on 14 October 2007.
During 2006, Whatuira posed for the Naked Rugby League 2007-08 charity calendar, which was produced to raise money for the National Breast Cancer Foundation of Australia.
On 13 October 2009, Whatuira was arrested and underwent a psychiatric assessment after he allegedly assaulted two men. Police used a Taser gun to subdue him. Whatuira spent 13 days in a secure psychiatric hospital after the incident which was reportedly related to sexual abuse he suffered as a child. Whatuira was not charged over the incident as under section two of the British Crimes Act, he is exempt from potential prosecution as he was deemed "mentally ill".
- WHATURIA, PAUL KHAN 2004 - 2007 - KIWI #705 nzleague.co.nz
- Paul Whatuira may be in mental health unit a month Huddersfield Daily Examiner, 17 October 2009
- Wainui Boys to take Centre stage in Fairytale Grand Final NZPA, 26 September 2005
- Geenty, Mark (17 May 2007). "League: Whatuira considers code switch". The New Zealand Herald. NZPA. Retrieved 2 November 2011.
- Young star hurts Canty The Press, 29 March 1999
- Peter Bidwell Whatuira happy beavering away The Dominion Post, 31 May 2003
- John Coffey Whatuira boosts Wainui backline The Press, 8 April 2000
- Police find stolen NRL premiership ring The Age, 14 November 2007
- Giants sign Kiwi centre Whatuira BBC Sport, 8 August 2007
- Huddersfield Giants' Paul Whatuira in police custody The Guardian, 14 October 2009
- Glenn Jackson (30 July 2011). "Walker's off: veteran hangs up the boots". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 30 July 2011.
- 2000 World Cup Darryl Bradford's Rugby League
- "Ex-Kiwi league rep detained in double assault inquiry". stuff.co.nz. 15 October 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-15.
- Gareth Walker Huddersfield's Paul Whatuira assessed in mental health hospital after arrest The Guardian, 15 October 2009
- Reid, Neil (17 January 2010). "Paul Whatuira: I wanted to kill myself". Sunday News. Retrieved 2 November 2011.
- James Phelps Day I nearly killed myself: Paul Whatuira Daily Telegraph, 8 March 2010
- "Whatuira: Being arrested saved my life". Television New Zealand. NZPA. 17 January 2010. Retrieved 2 November 2011.