Giants land Eels prop Matagi

Huddersfield Giants have made their first signing for 2019 with the capture of New Zealand international Suaia Matagi.

The Parramatta prop has become new head coach Simon Woolford’s first signing since joining the Giants, with his arrival providing Huddersfield’s pack with further NRL experience.

Matagi, 30, has made over 100 appearances during six seasons in the NRL, where he has enjoyed stints with New Zealand Warriors, Sydney Roosters, Penrith Panthers and the Eels.

He made one appearance for the Kiwis in 2014 but has played the rest of his international days with Samoa, making seven appearances overall with two of those being in last year’s World Cup.

“I was looking for some real grunt and aggression in the front row and Suaia will bring that and a whole heap more,” Woolford said.

“The fans will love his action packed style and he is a man that won’t take a backward step and he relishes the tough stuff up front. We have a number of relatively younger front rowers in Dickinson, Smith and English who will benefit enormously from having a man like Suaia around them at training and on the pitch and his presence will bring confidence and leadership to the forward group.

“When we’re looking to recruit I have said previously I only want guys who really want to come and achieve something here and understand the environment I want to create and Suaia ticks those boxes and I’m very excited to make him my first overseas capture.”

Matagi added: “I am extremely excited to take my football to the next level under the leadership of coach Simon Woolford and I’m also looking forward to the challenge of playing in the English Super League. Joining a proud club like the Huddersfield Giants is a privileged and I will represent our fans to the best of my ability.”