Ben Matulino announces retirement

Wests Tigers forward Ben Matulino has today confirmed his retirement from rugby league following an exceptional career that has spanned the past 12 seasons.

Matulino will medically retire as approved by the NRL from rugby league with 248 appearances to his name having made his first-grade debut for the New Zealand Warriors back in Round 14 of the 2008 season.

The first NYC graduate from all 16 clubs to achieve the milestone of 100 and then 150 NRL games, Matulino would go on to feature in 212 appearances all up for the Warriors — twice winning the club’s Player of the Year Award in 2012 and 2015.

Joining Wests Tigers at the start of the 2018 season, Matulino would play 23 of a possible 24 matches in his first season with the club and featured in the first 13 games of the 2019 season before suffering a knee injury against the North Queensland Cowboys in Round 14.

The serious injury would rule the 30-year-old for the remainder of the season.

Wests Tigers CEO Justin Pascoe paid tribute to Matulino’s career.

“On behalf of all at the club, I’d like to firstly congratulate Ben on what has been a superb career in the NRL,” Pascoe said. “He has been a wonderful player for over a decade and has continued to give his all for his sport, teammates and clubs.

“Ben is a terrific family man and it has been a real pleasure to have him be part of this club.

“We all understand his decision to retire as a result of his injury, and we wish him, his wife Courtenay and his young family all the very best in the future.”

A Te Aroha Eels junior, Matulino made his international debut for New Zealand as part of the 2009 Four Nations and would play a vital role in the Kiwis’ success at the turn of the decade — helping his side to a breakthrough win over Australia in the 2010 Four Nations.

He would go on to play 23 Tests all up for the Kiwis between 2009 and 2015.

Current New Zealand Kiwis and Wests Tigers Coach Michael Maguire thanked Matulino for his contribution to both Wests Tigers and the Kiwis national side.

“Ben has been a pleasure to coach and has played a key role in helping us set the culture that we want at Wests Tigers,” Maguire said.

“He sets a great example for the younger players in the squad and has always displayed a team-first attitude both on and off the field.   

“In the international space, Ben has also had a wonderful representative career and has played a key role in the progress of New Zealand rugby league," he said.

"His efforts for the Kiwi jersey are thoroughly appreciated by all and we wish him well in the future.”

In addition to Matulino’s retirement, Wests Tigers have also confirmed that Ryan Matterson will depart the club effective immediately after being released from the final two years of his playing contract. Matterson has played 24 games for Wests Tigers after joining the club at the start of the 2019 season.