the is from the daily telegraph he would of been handy this yr
HE COULD have been lining up for Wests Tigers against his ex-Bulldogs teammates tomorrow night, but a bizarre contract bungle has Matt Utai playing park football for Auburn Warriors instead.
Sport Confidential can reveal the Tigers offered Utai an NRL lifeline after the Kiwi international reneged on a $130,000 deal to play in the English Super League with Celtic Crusaders late last year.
With his former Bulldogs coach Steve Folkes - now strength and conditioning man at Concord - convincing Tigers officials to take a punt on the blockbusting winger, Wests were keen to have Utai on board until told they would be hit with a transfer fee.
“Matt signed with the Crusaders, but told them he wasn’t going to England because he wanted to retire,” said a source close to Utai. “He was keen to play with the Tigers but the Crusaders would have hit the roof and demanded compensation, which the Tigers would not have paid.”
The stand-off has left Utai playing park football alongside former Bulldog Andrew Emelio at the Auburn Warriors, where he has signed on as captain-coach.
However, easing the pain of the lost $130,000, Utai got to lift an oversized trophy when his side won the Grand Hotel Kiama Rugby League Nines on the South Coast last month.
A SCHEDULING clash will prevent Parramatta great Brett Kenny witnessing Nathan Hindmarsh break his appearance record against South Sydney on Sunday afternoon.
Instead of being at ANZ Stadium, Kenny will be marooned 10km west at Ringrose Park - the home ground of his NSW Cup side Wentworthville.
Kenny took over the coaching reins at Wentworthville - Parramatta’s feeder club - this year and his reserve-graders kick off at 3pm.
“In hindsight, maybe the club should have done something to get us together when he equalled the record at Parramatta Stadium last week,” Kenny reflected.
Meanwhile, Eels supremo Roy Spagnolo was appointed to replace Ron Hilditch as football club chairman on Tuesday night.