You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Tigers sign Matulino as Woods' replacement

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 25/04/2017 Steve Zemek

Long-serving Warriors prop Ben Matulino has confirmed his departure at the end of the NRL season, on a three-year deal with the Wests Tigers.

The 28-year-old informed his team-mates of his decision in the changing room following their 20-14 loss to the Storm in Melbourne on Tuesday night.

It was Matulino's 197th game for the Warriors and his first of the season following knee surgery.

In a short Warriors statement, 23-Test Kiwis international Matulino said he wanted to experience living in Sydney with his family and felt he couldn't turn down the offer.

He said his focus was on finishing his final season with the club on a high, having begun his tenure there in 2008.

The contract, reportedly worth $A700,000 ($NZ760,000) per season, represents a swift response for the Tigers, who have moved to cover the loss of skipper Aaron Woods.

The joint venture is attempting to plug massive holes in their roster for 2018 with Woods, Mitchell Moses and James Tedesco set to depart at season's end.

Matulino has been inconsistent over the last several seasons and last year was one of five players dropped from the New Zealand Test team for taking a cocktail of prescription drugs and energy drinks.

He was at one time considered one of the premier props in the game. However, his stocks have fallen in recent seasons and he has not represented his country since 2015.

Tigers coach Nathan Cleary, who worked with Matulino during his time at the Warriors, said he had the potential to be one of the best big men in the game.

"Ben has proven himself as an elite front rower in both the NRL and international arena," Cleary said.

"We welcome Ben as an integral part of Wests Tigers' future."

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon