Tag Archive: Matt Utai

Fulton’s role is to fill the gaps

While Benji Marshall’s mental state has been the subject of intense speculation, Wests Tigers backrower Liam Fulton knows exactly where he fits into the scheme of things heading into Monday night’s NRL blockbuster against Canterbury at ANZ Stadium. Fulton describes himself as the ugly duckling of the Tigers backrow, the unfashionable footballer who “fills the gap” alongside high profile duo Gareth Ellis and Chris Heighington. “I’m happy to have that title,” Fulton said. “Gaz Ellis is probably the best second rower in the world … I know I could never do things that he could do. “And Heighington, he’s just the ultimate workhorse, he’s got an engine like I’ve never seen before. “I’m just there to fill the gap … and we work really well as a trio.” One gap Fulton will be called on to fill on Monday night will be the one new Canterbury signing Frank Pritchard takes aim at on the Bulldogs’ left edge. Continue reading


Matt Utai on the comeback trail

Tigers veteran Matt Utai is set to make a remarkable comeback to the NRL after nearly two years in the NSW Cup.The Bulldogs premiership player was yesterday named to start on the wing for the Tigers against his former club at ANZ Stadium on Monday night after getting the nod from Tigers coach Tim Sheens ahead of a host of developing players, including Mitch Brown and Geoff Daniela. Utai was also picked ahead of the injured Beau Ryan in the No. 5 jumper.  The 29-year-old is still looking to prove to Tigers officials he deserved an NRL contract in 2011.  Utai was particularly impressive this pre-season against the Roosters.

Carney aiming for Round 1

Roosters coach Brian Smith has confirmed reigning Dally M medallist Todd Carney is on track to play in his side’s season opener against South Sydney next month. Carney underwent groin surgery four weeks ago and was initially expected to miss the first four rounds of the competition. The 24-year-old will sit out Saturday’s Foundation Cup clash against Wests Tigers at the SFS but is considered an almost certain starter for Round 1 in a major boost for the Tri Colours. “Unless something goes wrong for him he’ll play in the first comp game,” Smith said on Tuesday. “We even thought about just playing him for 20 minutes in this game but he’s not quite at that stage … it’s just a little too early for him.” “We’ve still got 17 days before the comp starts and we start with Souths on Friday night so we’d obviously like him to be right for that.” “Without and mishaps between now then he’ll be fine I think.” Continue reading

Tim Moltzen returns for Tigers

Wests Tigers Head Coach Tim Sheens has named his team to play Sydney Roosters in the annual Foundation Cup clash at the Sydney Football Stadium on Saturday, February 26.

The match will see the long awaited return of utility Tim Moltzen who missed the majority of last season after undergoing a knee reconstruction. Moltzen has overcome an ankle injury that saw him miss last week’s trial against Parramatta.   Wests Tigers will be looking to win the Foundation Cup for the first time since 2007. Kick-off is 7.30pm.

Winger Matt Utai has been signed to a one-year second tier contract for 2011.

Team: Wade McKinnon, Lote Tuqiri, Blake Ayshford, Chris Lawrence, Matt Utai, Benji Marshall, Robert Lui, Bryce Gibbs, Robbie Farah (C), Keith Galloway, Liam Fulton, Simon Dwyer, Chris Heighington

Interchange: Aaron Woods, Tim Moltzen, Sean Meaney, Alan Schirnack,  Andrew Fifita

Tigers tame Cowboys

Wests Tigers started their season off on the right foot, downing North Queensland 22-10 in an NRL trial match in Townsville on Friday night. Played in atrocious conditions, the Tigers’ young forward pack dug in and led the way at Brothers Rugby League club in Kirwan. Last year’s preliminary finalists had to overcome the pouring rain and a second-half comeback from the Cowboys to register the win in front of 4000 hardy locals. Most importantly for coach Tim Sheens, the Tigers escaped without any major injury concerns, Rhys Curran’s loose tooth the only setback. The visitors fielded a young side, captained by promising five-eighth Sean Meaney and also featuring new buy Matt Utai in the centres. Their forward pack boasted six under 20s players and the rookies impressed the coaching staff with a committed and tight defensive display. Continue reading