NRL UPDATE: Matagi called in

Vodafone Warriors prop Suaia Matagi (pictured) will make his second NRL appearance after being confirmed to replace the injured Russell Packer in Sunday's 13th-round encounter with Manly at Mount Smart Stadium. Photo: Photosport


A standout again for the Vulcans in the New South Wales Cup this season, Matagi has made the most of his opportunities since joining the NRL squad on an offseason trial last November.


Impressing the coaching throughout the summer, he was upgraded to a full-time NRL contract just before the season started, giving the club front row depth beyond the highly-experienced quartet of Jacob Lilliyman, Sam Rapira, Ben Matulino and Russell Packer.


The 25-year-old was called in to make his NRL debut in the Vodafone Warriors May 11 clash against Canterbury-Bankstown at Westpac Stadium in Wellington. He became Warrior No 181 replacing an injured Sam Rapira.


Matagi was included on a five-man bench when Vodafone Warriors head coach Matthew Elliott named his squad for the Manly match on Tuesday. There were concerns about Packers fitness after he took a blow to his sternum in Monday nights exceptional 56-18 win over Brisbane.


Packer wasnt able to take part in field sessions on either Thursday or Saturday, leaving the way clear for Matagi to come in to play his first NRL match in front of his family and friends at Mount Smart Stadium.


After Saturday mornings final pre-match run assistant coach Andrew McFadden confirmed Matagi would not only come into the squad bur would indeed start the match.