The Wests Tigers are set for a spending spree this off-season with the league approving the medical retirement of New Zealand international Ben Matulino and the immediate release of Ryan Matterson, as reported by Fox Sports. 

The Tigers will have $1.7 million free in cap space for next season, with coach Michael Maguire set to take advantage of his sides new war chest to improve the Tigers roster for 2020.

The timing of Matulino and Matterson's exit falls perfectly for Maguire, as the window for 2021 off contract players opens Friday November 1st.

The ongoing friction between Matterson and the Tigers ends with both parties agreeing to cut ties after failing to secure a trade.

Parramatta have been vocal in their chase for Matterson, reportedly offering a 3-year, $1.6 million offer within the last 24 hours as the Eels remain hopeful of securing the 25-year-old.

Matulino, who originally had signed with former coach Ivan Cleary, still has one-year remaining on his Wests contract worth close to $800,000 per season.

Matulino's departure follows the NRL's approval for his medical retirement after a month long case.

“On behalf of all at the club, I’d like to firstly congratulate Ben on what has been a superb career in the NRL,” Tigers CEO Justin Pascoe said.

“He has been a wonderful player for over a decade and has continued to give his all for his sport, teammates and respective 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.”

The granted retirement means the Tigers will receive an extra $800,000 into their salary cap for next year.

Adding to the departures of Matterson and centre Esan Masters - who was released to the Cowboys - the Tigers will be major role players come as they boast a threatening salary space.

Maguire has kept close tabs on Titans duo Jai Arrow and AJ Brimson and has also shown interest in Dragons player Luciano Leilua.


  1. I’ll premise with I’m not having a crack at anyone (specifically), but just comparing two articles a week apart on the same website:
    From this article:
    “The Wests Tigers are set for a spending spree” and “The Tigers will have $1.7 million free in cap space for next season”.
    An article from a week (or so) ago:
    “The cashed up Panthers are set to go after a host of rival NRL stars this off-season with $600,000 in their salary cap”.
    As per above I’m not having a crack at anyone in isolation, and I haven’t “cherry picked” quotes to make an out of context arguement (I don’t think/aren’t trying to), but looking at the differences between the player movements of these 2 clubs (as it currently stands) I see a very different picture.

  2. If history is anything to go by then we’ll spend it on a couple of players who have already peaked and are in decline. Management at our club is diabolical.

  3. Christian Welch 650k
    Micheal Lichaa 150k
    Euan Aiken 350k
    Jamayne Issako 400k
    Lachlan Timm 150k

    1. Jamayne Issako
    2. Robert Jennings
    3. Euan Aiken
    4. Moses Mbye
    5. Corey Thompson
    6. Benji Marshall
    7. Luke Brooks
    8. Alex Twal
    9. Micheal Lichaa
    10. Christian Welch
    11. Chris Lawrence
    12. Luke Garner
    13. Matt Eisenhuth

    14. Josh Reynolds
    15. Russell Packer
    16. Thomas Mikaleale
    17. Josh Aloiai

    18. Micheal Chee-Kam
    19. Elijah Taylor
    20. Jacob Liddle
    21. David Nofoaluma
    22. Paul Momirovski
    23. Lachlan Timm

    Wouldn’t spend 1.7 on 1 or 2 big name flash players but would get some younger guys and some good players to improve the whole team. Issako would jump at the chance to play fullback for his kiwis coach and also be the kicker. Aiken is a young guy who was almost a NSW rep, give him a second chance. Christian Welch at prop improves a weak area of the team a lot. Lichaa comes as a cheap replacement. Then lastly Lachlan Timm is a really solid young prop/lock who would force his way into the team.

    Once Reynolds, McQueen, Packer and Taylor’s deals all expire you’ll have another chance to bring in fresh talent and maybe then you go after a big name.

  4. You’re spot on Eels.
    I thought the same thing when I read this story.
    The Tigers will have $1.7 Million to spent , letting a few players go.
    Penrith will $600,000 to spend , after letting most of their most expensive players go, over the last year or more.
    Where do these figures come from? Do the media just pluck a figure out of thin air?

  5. I don’t think the media just pluck numbers out of thin air, for the most part at least.
    Using the example above both authors may well be correct, but if that’s the case the author of the Panthers article made a lot of assumptions, re player upgrades, replacing players on min. wages, possibly player subsidies etc. that weren’t stated.
    More broadly my point is, you can’t just take articles / comments at face value, even from a reputable source/s. The reader has to be able to apply some degree of common sense and/or make judgement of whether it looks right and/or consider what assumptions may have been made etc.
    When I read some of the posts, from some people and/or on some occasions, you can see they, and possibly aided by the writers style/bias from the source/s they reference, as well as their own (bias) make quotes/assumptions that are out of context, at the very least.

  6. When you look at the players who Penrith have released , compared to the buys. Even allowing for any upgrades. How could the $600,000 figure be correct ? For the amount left to spend .
    Korisau is the only notable buy as yet.
    Players to leave include :Maloney, Blake, D.W.Z, Campbell-Gillard , Egan, Katoa. .
    There’s more than that. That is only including some of those to leave since the start of the 2019 season.
    They’d have all cost more in the cap, than any upgraded players .
    The $600,000 figure given , is just a fanciful figure . Imagined by those writers , who are supporters of other clubs. With no real knowledge of Penrith.

  7. The short answer EOD is I don’t know.
    It didn’t / doesn’t look right to me, and certainly not if it is as simple as replacing most of those that left with juniors/rookies, which is what I’d imagine Penrith will do in order to free up sufficient cap to go after a couple of top players.

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