Album: Matagi's Story So Far
http://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/league/8888786/Matagis-journey-From-prison-to-Mt-Smart<br /> <br /> Matagi's journey: From prison to Mt Smart<br /> <br /> BEN STANLEY<br /> <br /> Last updated 12:50 07/07/2013<br /> <br /> <br /> Getty Images<br /> <br /> Rising Warriors cult hero Suaia Matagi will tell you he was a bad kid as a teenager. He hung out with a bad crowd. He was an alcoholic, a smoker, someone who dabbled with gangs.<br /> <br /> ''I thought that was life,'' Matagi told the Fairfax Media last week. ''That was how I looked at life. I just did what I wanted.''<br /> <br /> Matagi was going nowhere - and didn't care. That's when it happened. He got in a fight, a really bad one and beat someone up good and proper.<br /> <br /> The result was a three-year prison sentence, to be served in Manawatu Prison, in Linton.<br /> <br /> He took his medicine, sat in prison and thought about a lot of things. A new-found belief in God was a catalyst for change. In his faith, he found a way forward.<br /> <br /> ''It finally took prison to open my eyes and show there was no purpose in the life I was living,'' he revealed.<br /> <br /> ''I'm not proud of my past - but I sure wasn't going to let my past determine my future. I just wanted to go back and restore our family name.<br /> <br /> ''I embarrassed myself and my family too with the life I was living. That was my motivation. There was always hope.''<br /> <br /> Matagi came out of prison after only a year, and headed home to Auckland, wanting to be a better man. His pathway came in league.<br /> <br /> Though he'd never played any organised sport before, the 19-year-old started playing, first for the Te Atatu Roosters, then the Mt Albert Lions.<br /> <br /> A natural front-rower, his success was swift. He was selected to play for Auckland in 2009 and the New Zealand Residents (2009, 2010 and 2011).<br /> <br /> Matagi got a job as a courier driver. He'd work 12 hour days, and then head to training. Time with his family was limited.<br /> <br /> His first outing for the Auckland Vulcans -- one step away from a Warriors promotion -- came in 2010. It was also the first time his past caught up with him.<br /> <br /> Matagi'