Football is Family for 46-year-old Malosi Matue and Australia’s Melbourne University Royals

The patriarch of his footballing family, Malosi Matue at age 46 is currently competing in his 18th season of American Football in Australia and New Zealand.

Football is family for Malosi and the 2017 season has been one of his favourites, playing alongside his two sons Frank and Montel, and five nephews Alec and Dylan Letoga, Tokoa Tangatakino, Tuaiti Mino, and Masi Lua for the Melbourne University Royals.

Originally from Auckland, New Zealand, Malosi began playing rugby from the age of 5 as most young boys do in New Zealand, following in his father’s footsteps to play for the Ponsonby Rugby Club. Aged 18 in 1989, Malosi wanted to try something different to rugby. His cousin Jake Letoga was the quarterback of the South Auckland Miners and asked him to come down and give this American Football game a try.

Malosi with the carry in the final regular season game of 2017 against the Geelong Buccaneers

Speaking of his first season, Malosi remembered:

“We had a lot of big island players. We didn’t really know much of the game, but we loved to hit anything that moved so it was perfect for us.’

Three years later Malosi moved to Australia and to the state of Queensland where he continued his football career at the Ipswich Cougars, making the Queensland state team in 1994 as Tailback. During his state representation, Malosi travelled back to his native New Zealand to face his own national team, a game in which Queensland came away victors.

(L-R) Montel, Malosi and Frank in their first game together in 2015

Moving to Melbourne in 2006, Malosi rekindled his love of American Football, playing a few more seasons for the now defunct Northern Blackhawks. It wasn’t until 2015 at age 44, and after watching Frank and Montel play together at the Royals, that Malosi decided to he’d love nothing more than to pad up with his boys.

“Playing with the Royals has been my all-time favourite. Playing this awesome sport with my own kids and nephews has been incredible. I’ll probably stop playing when my body tells me to stop but for now I love every chance I get to play.”

Malosi is all smiles

The family connection at the Melbourne University Royals goes even deeper, with Malosi’s cousin and the man who introduced him to American Football Jake Letoga being the current head coach of the women’s team. Playing for the women’s team is Malosi’s eldest daughter Tenae, and his six nieces Ash Wulf, Yasmin Augustine, Rose Trego, Tania Samuel, Lavinia Mino, and Mykaela Palelei. His 14 year old daughter Arina who has been training with the team since she was 10, can’t wait to turn 16 to join her sisters and cousins on the team. The Royals motto of ‘One Club, One Family’ is well and truly lived and breathed by Malosi and his family.

(L-R) Biance Barone, Jake Letoga, Tenae Matue, Yasmin Augustine, Ash Wulf and Malosi Matue

Malosi and Royals head into playoffs

Malosi and the Royals began the 2017 Gridiron Victoria season sluggishly with a 1-5 start. On the back of three wins in their last four matches with a point differential of +77, the Royals finished the regular season with a 4-6 record to finish 3rd position on the Division 1 table and now face a sudden death semi-final against the Monash Warriors this Saturday 7 October.

Malosi Matue wearing #45 blocking for son #24 Frank Matue

The Warriors took the win over the Royals in both matches during the regular season. The second matchup went down to the wire, with the Royals missing the chance to tie the game on the final play.
Head Coach John Trana is bullish on the team’s chances in the semi-final this weekend.

“The Royals have gotten better each week and we are peaking at the right time. We have a lot of momentum going into our first playoff game. We have a great opportunity this weekend playing the Monash Warriors whom we have never defeated. We are ready for the challenge.”

The winner of the semi-final with face either the undefeated Western Crusaders or the fourth placed Croydon Rangers in VicBowl XXXIII, Saturday 14 October at MacPherson Park Recreation Reserve, Melton.

Aaron McNaughton
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