Suaia Matagi has earned a massive reputation in Super League in the three years he has been in the UK.
From joining the Huddersfield Giants ahead of the 2019 season to a loan at the Castleford Tigers in 2021, Matagi has developed into one of the top flight’s most dangerous runners of the ball.
Two seasons with the Giants yielded 36 appearances before a loan move to the Tigers thrust him further into the limelight.
But, a rugby league career may never have occurred had Matagi not thought about turning his life around as a teenager after gang involvement and prison time.
“I remember I was 14 or 15, and I was hanging out with older guys like 25-30 year olds,” Matagi told the Talk Your Walk podcast.
“I was in the club, I managed to sneak in as I had a beard at the time, I was drunk and drugged off my face and said ‘life doesn’t get better than this, this is my purpose.’
“That stuck with me and I remember it and then three or four years later I was in prison sentenced to three years, living that fast life.”
That moment and the subsequent alone time in jail kickstarted Matagi’s path to rejuvenation.
“Hanging out with those boys, for me it was gangs and the minute I was inside and none of those boys were in there.
“With time on my side I started asking those questions, what am I here for? There’s got to be more to life than this inside jail.
” thought alcohol and drugs was it but it lead me to a dead end. i realised my new born daughter and m wife at home were suffering from my actions. i had to take ownership and respnsibility for my actions.