Championship move confirmed for former NRL ace following Castleford Tigers departure: ‘I’m just getting started’

Ben Olawumi
Suaia Matagi

Suaia Matagi applauds the Castleford Tigers fans at Magic Weekend - Alamy

Doncaster have confirmed the signing of ex-Samoa and New Zealand international Suaia Matagi following his departure from Super League outfit Castleford Tigers.

The veteran prop – who will turn 36 in March-, exited the Jungle in September after three seasons with the club, with director Danny Wilson putting their decision to let him go down to ‘wanting to bring the age profile of the squad down’.

In-between 15 appearances for the Fords this year, Matagi also dropped down to the Championship to feature as a loanee for Halifax Panthers against Widnes Vikings.

He now makes a permanent return to the second tier with newly-promoted Doncaster, who have already made waves in the transfer market following their rise up from League 1 as play-off winners.

Wakefield Trinity stalwart Reece Lyne joined the Dons earlier this week, bringing an 11-season stint to an end to do so, and he was preceded by former Leeds Rhinos ace Alex Sutcliffe who like Matagi makes the move across Yorkshire on the back of a challenging 12 months at Castleford.

Championship move confirmed for ex-NRL ace Suaia Matagi ahead of 2024

Auckland-born Matagi – who also represented the Combined Nations All Stars against England in 2021 – has eight caps for Samoa to his name, earned through his heritage, as well as one for the Kiwis.

The forward played in both the 2013 & 2017 Rugby League World Cups, first making the move over to this country from Parramatta Eels to Huddersfield Giants midway through 2018.

He has also donned a shirt over in the NRL for the New Zealand Warriors, Sydney Roosters and Penrith Panthers, amassing more than 100 appearances Down Under amongst Australia’s elite, with 88 now in Super League to go with them.

Having signed on the dotted line at the Eco-Power Stadium ready for 2024, Matagi said: “Mentally and physically, I feel like I’m just getting started. I’m excited and I’ve set some personal goals for myself this year.

“I want to make sure that 12 months from now, I’m proud of the effort I’ve put in both on and off the field. They [Carl Hall, CEO and Richard Horne, head coach] spoke about the impact and influence I could have and what I could add with my experience as well not only on the field but off the field as well.

“I’ve worked with Carl before in prisons etc. and it all ties in, it’s almost like a full package coming here. I want to help out and add value wherever I can.”

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