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 Matthew Spence
Age: 44
D.O.B: 4 July 1976
Place of Birth:
Former Clubs:
Weight: 98 kg
Height: 191 cm
Given a first grade lifeline by the Warriors after being plagued by injury and controversy over the past three seasons. Originally from the Turangi Dambusters playing in the Bay of Plenty competition, Spence began his NRL career as an 18-year-old at Parramatta in 1995. Made just eight first grade appearances that year but seemed to have a very big future after a strong second season with the Eels. He made 11 starts and came off the bench another nine times for 20 appearances, scoring four tries. Playing alongside veteran former Kiwi captain Gary Freeman - then in his last year of football - Spence impressed plenty of judges. But injury problems (he needed a knee reconstruction) impacted on his next two seasons and he was left looking for another club in 1999. Western Suburbs picked him up but, before the NRL season had started, Spence was in strife when he was suspended after returning a positive drug test for using Ecstasy. After serving his time, turned out 15 times for the hapless Wests side. With the Magpies linking with Balmain in a joint venture, the Warriors swooped on Spence, a second rower Mark Graham regards as a valuable acquisition. He certainly looked it in a trial against New Zealand Maori at Hopu Hopu and even more so in the main trial against Canberra (when he scored a smart try off his former Wests team-mate Scott Coxon).

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