Front rower Ben Matulino has given the Vodafone Warriors’ 2015 NRL campaign a huge boost today by re-committing to the club on a new two-year contract which will keep him at Mount Smart Stadium until the end of the 2017 season.
The deal will enable the 26-year-old Wellingtonian to join the select group of players who have represented the Vodafone Warriors across 10 NRL seasons.
Now entering his eighth campaign, Matulino last year became only the 10th player to have appeared in 150 NRL games for the club; Sam Rapira (169) is the only front rower ahead of him.
Named the club’s player of the year in 2012, Matulino said he was delighted he’d be staying in Auckland for at least another two years.
“I’m really pleased to have my future sorted out now before the season starts,” he said.
“There was interest from other clubs but this is where I want to be.
“The Vodafone Warriors have done so much for me and I owe them for the support.
“I really like the culture Cappy (head coach Andrew McFadden) is building and feel our future is looking good. That’s something I want to be a part of.
“This is also a great group of players to be around, the ones who have been there all the way along like Simon (Mannering), Manu (Vatuvei) and Sam (Rapira) as well as the young players coming through.”
McFadden said extending Matulino’s time with the club was critical to building the squad.
“Ben has great standing as one of the best front rowers in the game today,” he said.
“He’s also a fantastic advertisement for our development system and for the NYC, the way he has come through to achieve so much at both NRL and international level.
“It was really important for us to extend Ben’s time with us. He has so much more to offer and is a real key to our future.”
Matulino has been a trailblazer for the NRL, a foundation player in the NYC’s inaugural season in 2008 who was soon promoted to the NRL. He made his debut as a 19-year-old and has gone on to create history as the first NYC graduate to play his 100th NRL game (in 2012) and also the first to reach 150 appearances, which he did against the Roosters last year.
After playing his junior football for the Te Aroha Eels in Wellington, Matulino has also gone on to play 19 Tests for the Kiwis. He helped the Kiwis to their win over the Kangaroos in the 2010 Four Nations final in Brisbane but was ruled out of last year’s successful campaign.
Matulino was initially used as a second rower and reprised that role several times last season but most of his career has been in the front row as a starting prop or an interchange option.
He relished his most productive try-scoring season in 2014, scoring four tries to lift his career tally to 13.
Date of Birth | January 03, 1989
Birthplace | Lower Hutt, New Zealand
Junior Club | Te Aroha Eels (Wellington)
Position | Prop/Second Row
Height | 193cm
Weight | 107kg
Other Teams | Vodafone Junior Warriors (NYC), Wellington Orcas, Randwick Kingfishers (Wellington)
Rep Honours | 19 Tests for Kiwis 2009-2013, Four Nations 2009-2011
Club Number | 142
NRL Debut | Vodafone Warriors v Cronulla, Toyota Stadium, June 14, 2008 (Round 14)
NRL Career | 152 appearances, 2008-2014
NRL Points | 52 (13 tries)
NYC Debut | Vodafone Junior Warriors v Parramatta, March 23, 2008 (Round 2)
NYC Career | 13 appearances, 2008-2009
NYC Points | 8 (2 tries)
Secondary School | St Bernard’s College (Wellington)