Matai has put his neck on the line for the last time

Rugby League Week - - News -

MANLY HARD­MAN STEVE Matai’s hopes of play­ing football again are get­ting more re­mote by the day and it ap­pears the brave Kiwi will be forced to hang up his boots be­fore next sea­son.

No player in the NRL has en­dured more pain than Matai dur­ing the past decade.

A bruis­ing de­fender and will­ing ball­run­ner, the Kiwi plays well above his weight, but the big hits have taken an aw­ful toll on his shoul­ders and neck.

He un­der­went neck surgery ear­lier in the year and was hop­ing to re­turn as good as new in 2017.

But I’m hear­ing the in­jury isn’t heal­ing as well as the 32-year-old cen­tre hoped and he is un­likely to be cleared to play again.

Matai was renowned for be­ing able to play with pain but the fact his neck is con­tin­u­ing to cause prob­lems is a ma­jor con­cern for his long-term health.

The good news for Matai is that if he does re­tire, in­sur­ance should cover his en­tire contract money for next sea­son.

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