Deadly-accurate goal-kicker came from NZ 's junior All Black ranks to play with Manly in 1990. Ridge impressed immediately at fullback and within six first grade matches, he was playing for NZ in a qualifying World Cup match against Great Britain. One of the most consistent goal-kickers in the competition, Ridge also proved his value as a talented attacking player and safe defender.
- Matthew John Ridge
- Date of Birth:
- Place of Birth:
- Rotorua, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand
- 92 kg
- New Zealand
- Current Status:
- Owner of car wash company Car-fé
- Warriors #:
- Warriors Debut (Date and Match Details):
- 1st March 1997 vs Brisbane Broncos
- Junior Club:
- Mt Albert Grammar School/Auckland Grammar School Rugby Union
- Signed From:
- Many-Warringah Sea Eagles
- Wikipedia Page:
A knee injury sidelined him for half of the 1993 season but he returned to the game, scoring a club record 257pts (11t, 106g, 1fg) in 1995. Ridge was one of two Manly players to immediately link with Super League (the other being Ian Roberts) and despite playing for a club regarded as an ARL stronghold, he was openly critical of the code's controlling body.
After captaining NZ in its unsuccessful World Cup campaign, Ridge chose to sit out the early part of the 1996 season after the planned Super League competition was put on hold but returned to the Sea Eagles after nine rounds. Despite his stance, Ridge was an unqualified match-winner, scoring a club record-equalling 30pts (2t, 11g) in a match against Wests. After playing a major role in the club’s grand final win over St George, he joined Auckland in 1997.
After missing the early rep matches because of injury, Ridge captained NZ in a Super League Test match late in the year. In 1998 Ridge captained the Kiwis in two further Test matches, including the 22-16 win in the ANZac Test against Australia. Ridge too often showed his frustration regarding the Warriors’ lack of competitiveness during his three seasons with club but over-stepped the mark in 1999 when he was suspended for a total of 12 weeks for ‘man-handling’ a referee and ‘roughing up’ the face of an opposing player. He retired in February 2000 as the greatest point-scorer in NZ Test history (168pts – 6t, 71g, 2fg) and was part of Auckland’s new administration team until the Graham Lowe-led consortium folded at the end of season.
1989 New Zealand All Blacks
1990–98 New Zealand Kiwis
1995 Dally M Fullback of the Year
1995 ARL Top Point Scorer
1996 ARL Grand Final winner with Manly
1997–99 Auckland Warriors