Son of Super League veteran makes St Helens team debut

James Gordon
Suaia Matagi

Picture by Allan McKenzie/

Castleford prop Suaia Matagi watched proudly on the sidelines as his son Chris made his debut for St Helens’ scholarship side.

Matagi, 35, was in action for the Tigers in their 12-7 defeat to Hull KR on Friday night, but on Sunday he was a spectator as Saints’ Under 16s side travelled to London Broncos.

His son Chris came through the ranks at the Siddal community club in Halifax, and was named at centre in the Saints team that won 54-20.

Suaia Matagi posted on Instagram: “Proud as of our Chris on making his debut today. Good to see that your hard work has paid off. Grateful to St Helens for giving this kid from West Auckland / West Yorkshire an opportunity to showcase his talent and rep his aiga (sic). This is just the beginning lasgo (sic).”

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Saints led 20-10 at half time thanks to tries from Elliot Jamieson (2), Jack Campbell and Nathan Percival.

Matagi got on the scoresheet for a try of his own in the second half, with further scores from Oscar Knox, Jake Taylor, Dec Lyon, Alfie Maden and Luke Brighouse capping a thumping victory.

He started playing junior rugby league in Australia before his dad Suaia made the move to Super League in 2018 with Huddersfield Giants.

Suaia played in the NRL for New Zealand Warriors, Sydney Roosters, Penrith Panthers and Parramatta Eels, as well as earning international caps for Samoa and New Zealand.

After 50 appearances for Huddersfield, he moved on to Castleford – initially on loan in 2021 – before signing on a permanent basis.

One for the future

Chris Matagi was announced as one of 17 new recruits to the Saints scholarship programme back in September, unveiled ahead of the win against Toulouse.

At the time, Saints Performance Manager, Neil Kilshaw said: “We are delighted to welcome our next group of Scholarship players. The programme starts next week and we are all excited about witnessing their development over the next two years.

“I also want to pay thanks to all the community club’s for their co-operation and the work they have done to develop these players and we look forward to working closely with them in 2023 and beyond.”