Nigel Vagana has come full circle on his rugby league journey ending up back where his footy career began at the Richmond Rovers.
Last night, Vagana was elected as the Chair for Richmond Rovers Rugby League & Sports Club (RRRLSC) at their annual general meeting. He said that he is looking forward to the opportunity and taking on the role aiming to help the community aspire to believe they can be whatever they want to be from the grassroots club.
“I’m hoping to help create a future that everyone is a part of, and everyone is excited to play their part”, Vagana said. “I’d like to build strong connections and relations with the community and provide more opportunities for our kids, senior players, coaches and officials.”
For the past two years, Vagana has been involved with the Richmond club he has been a Masters player and his son has been a part of the junior grades.
“It’s the old club that I grew up at and have a strong connection with”, Vagana said. “I just wanted to spend some time coaching some of the young players there and helping them on their journey. Now coming into this role, it’s another opportunity to help grow the community.”
Vagana spent his junior years playing for the Richmond club before joining the Auckland Warriors system in 1995 and embarking on his international rugby league journey.
In 2008, Vagana retired from the professional game with 240 NRL caps, international appearances for New Zealand and Samoa, the Kiwis try-scoring record at the time (19) and back-to-back Dally M Centre of the Year award winner in 2001-02.
Vagana also took part in the 2007 All Golds tour of Great Britain and France. The historic tour celebrated a century of rugby league in New Zealand.
Following his retirement, Vagana moved into a role at the NRL head office working as an Education and Wellbeing Manager for ten years, before taking on a similar role based in Auckland with the NZRL in 2017.
Vagana reflected on how his rugby league journey has led him back into this role at his junior club.
“Coming full circle back to New Zealand, down to Auckland, back to where it all began. I wanted to make sure that I closed the loop on where it all began and came back home to help out the best I can.”