Jul 04

Nigel Vagana

nigel1Personal Life:

Nigel Vagana (born February 07, 1975 in Auckland, New Zealand) is a former professional Rugby League player from 1996-2008. Vagana is known to be a fan favourite with his natural gifted ability to play entertaining football, coupled with his ferocious defense, which always seemed to scale new heights when meeting head-to-head with Australia in the Test arena.

Throughout Vagana’s NRL career he has played for the Auckland Warriors in New Zealand, the Warrington Wolves in England and Australian clubs: Bulldogs, Cronulla-Sutherland and South Sydney. Altogether, he has played a career 260 1st Grade games.

Vagana represented both New Zealand Kiwi’s and Rugby League Samoa during his NRL career.

Vagana is the only player in Rugby League history to have topped the try scoring charts in both the Southern and Northern Hemisphere.


Professional Career:

Vagana started his professional Rugby League career in 1996 with the Auckland Warriors. Then in 1997 he spent a year playing with the Warrington Wolverines in England, before returning back to New Zealand playing for the Warriors in 1998 through to 2000.

Vagana signed with the Bulldogs from 2001 to 2003. In his 2002 season, Vagana became the first Bulldogs player (since 1942) to score five tries in a match. That season he was the League’s top try-scorer. He was also awarded the ‘Dally M’ Award for Best Centre of the Year for three straight years in 2001, 2002 and 2003. Unfortunately, he was not able to receive the ‘Dally M’ Award for 2003 due to the dispute between the NRL and Rugby League Players Association. The players had threatened to boycott the event unless the NRL met their demands, the NRL cancelled the ‘Dally M’ Aawards two days prior to the ceremony.

After his time with the Bulldogs, Vagana went on to sign with the Cronulla-Sutherland club from 2004-2006, and then signed a two year contract with South Sydney, from 2007 to the end of the 2008 season.

Vagana represented the New Zealand Kiwi’s in 37 separate occasions starting in 1998, which include 3 Rugby League World Cups, and a 2005 Tri-Nations win over Australia.

Vagana paid homage to his Samoan heritage when he was successful in his application to the Rugby League International Federation (RLIF), and went on to Captain for Samoa in the 2008 Rugby League World Cup, scoring a memorable length-of-the-field try against Tonga, with Samoa winning the match 20-12. After the 2008 season, Vagana retired and served as Technical Director on the Rugby League Samoa coaching staff.

With such huge success and a great Legacy of achievements under his belt, Vagana became a formidable advocate in changing the mind-set and behaviour among youth off the field, by highlighting the importance of educating and developing not only footballers, but also the youth of today.

Vagana collaborated with South’s Cares to help disadvantaged youth, particularly in the South Sydney Community, while managing the NRL Welfare and Education Programme, and continuing his commitments to the Polynesian and Indigenous Communities.

Vagana completed numerous courses and programmes locally within Australia and overseas, including those run by the Teacher’s Aide Programme and International Sporting bodies such as the NFL, NBA, WTA and LPGA. He has also established himself as one of the most popular and well-liked presenters in the Sports Industry, but also within the corporate world. His ability to captivate the audiences while delivering crucial key-message speeches, has made him a highly sought after Presenter and Speakers in the business.


Highlights & Awards

  • 2001 Winner of the Annual ‘Dally M’ NRL Centre of the Year Award
  • 2002 Winner of the Annual ‘Dally M’ NRL Centre of the Year Award
  • 2003 Winner of the Annual ‘Dally M’ NRL Centre of the Year Award (not able to claim Award due to NRL ceremony cancellation)
  • 2005 NRL Tri-Nations Winner with the New Zealand Kiwi’s League team
  • Inspiration behind the Body Pacifica Exhibition that Won a State-Wide Art Industry Award (the Exhibition also included copies of the Body Pacifica NRL Calendar that features Nigel Vagana – see pic below)
  •  Key organizer to promoting the 2011 film ‘The Orator – O Le Tulafale’ amongst the Australian, Samoan and NRL Community


  • Only player in the history of the NRL to have topped the try scoring charts in the Southern and Northern Hemisphere
  • Vagana retired as New Zealand’s all-time record try scorer of 19 tries
  • 2002 First Bulldogs player (since 1942) to score five tries in a match

1 ping

  1. Linda Vagana | Samoan Bios

    […] in New Zealand. Vagana comes from a family of well-known athletes in rugby league cousins Nigel Vagana and Joe […]

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