Player Manu Vatuvei

MarkW

MarkW

It's just a sad outcome for Manu whatever way you look at it. I hope he gets the support he needs once he's done his time and can rebuild his life and rep.

I remember an interview he did near the end of his footy career and him talking about how he'd love to be a police officer and serve his local community...

:(
 
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warriorsfan92

I have zero sympathy. The only people I feel sorry for is his family, and his victims. My best mate is hooked, and my cousin was addicted and took his life last week. I have a passion against this shit. He’s a piece of shit. That’s such a weak excuse. They teach them everything about the real world before they leave, he had a lot of money too. No one is to blame but himself. Not all nrl players retire and slang meth. Shame on him. Let’s move on, and forget about him.
 
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wizards rage

wizards rage

Hard to separate art and artist for me on this one.
Well put and I feel the same.

Lots of other examples in sport where hero’s have done something unforgivable and decades later the fans are still divided, on if their on-field heroics should be ignored.

So would I still have him in my all time best Warriors team? Based on straight on-field ability - yes. But I don’t know if that’s palatable any longer for the average fan.

No one can take the joy away I felt when he was our superstar winger, smashing his way to tries nobody else could score.

But post career has defined him as a person that has serious character flaws and doesn’t deserve any further acknowledgement.
 
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gREVUS

gREVUS

Long live the Rainbows and Butterflies
Contributor
It's just a sad outcome for Manu whatever way you look at it. I hope he gets the support he needs once he's done his time and can rebuild his life and rep.

I remember an interview he did near the end of his footy career and him talking about how he'd love to be a police officer and serve his local community...

:(
Well hes serving now
 
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bruce

bruce

Contributor
His defense lawyer blamed the structured environment he'd received from the Warriors since the age of 16 and they hadn't prepared him for life after professional sport.
Mate listening to defence lawyers dreaming up excuses is infuriating. The trouble is the Judge has to listen to the crap,, and take i into consideration otherwise it is grounds or appeal.

Three years for meth is light.
 
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Sup42

Sup42

They will keep a close eye on him, I would, I think he's high risk....stating the obvious

I'm sure they will, they know the risk with high profile figures.

The P.I. and Maori officers will be aware of the risks....as will all staff....but the bros in the staff will bond with him somewhat, it's always superficial, bottom line officers are not your freinds.

Different when you have a hardened criminal facing a lag.

He's not a life criminal. He isn't even a real antisocial guy.....he is a smiley at times sad figure, with very poor judgement.

Lack of remorse is not always an antisocial thing, sometimes all it means is someone doesn't get it....and that can mean a lack of maturity, or a lack of emotional intelligence, or a lack of judgement and insight.

Poor judgement and insight are the main drivers of prison suicides along with impulsive behaviour.
 
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dean

His defense lawyer blamed the structured environment he'd received from the Warriors since the age of 16 and they hadn't prepared him for life after professional sport.

Sorry, but dozens if not hundreds of players from NZ have gone through the same environment and haven't gone on to get drug convictions.

Any excuse these days.
 
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Juju

Is every news story designed to make me sad...

This story
Ukraine
The Protestors being idiots
Dylan Walker signing for us
 
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gREVUS

gREVUS

Long live the Rainbows and Butterflies
Contributor
Is every news story designed to make me sad...

This story
Ukraine
The Protestors being idiots
Dylan Walker signing for us
you missed the cancelled trial game cause of the flooding and that the price of fuel is going to push the need for electrification, oh wait, thats a good thing. Well what about the mess in the middle of the ocean, that is now known about, identified and being cleaned up... Damn it.
Wait what about nope that one is working out as well.
Dont worry soon the season will start and we can just ignore the world and go back to the disaster that is a great team with a poor leader that is the warriors
 
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Juju

you missed the cancelled trial game cause of the flooding and that the price of fuel is going to push the need for electrification, oh wait, thats a good thing. Well what about the mess in the middle of the ocean, that is now known about, identified and being cleaned up... Damn it.
Wait what about nope that one is working out as well.
Dont worry soon the season will start and we can just ignore the world and go back to the disaster that is a great team with a poor leader that is the warriors
I was into the cancelled game as at least we stayed undefeated
 
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WarriorDave

WarriorDave

He'll do his token "try not to be a dick again bro" sentence which will get reduced to 6 months and then probably have 12 months of home detention.
Just the way of the world ain't it?
 
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mt.wellington

mt.wellington

Warriors Orange Peeler
No sympathy for Manu Vatuvei whatsoever. Whatever the circumstances at the end of the day we are talking about a 35 year old fully grown adult with complete control of his mental state. In short, he was old enough to know better.

Stupity is not a reasonable defence.

There is little point going on about the damage that vile drug does to society. We all know as does Vatuvei and his co-defendants.

He's lucky to only be serving the sentence he is but as the judge rightfully stated his fall from grace was a punishment in itself. He could have spent his days living off his illustrious career as an ambassador for Rugby League, the Warriors, the NRL and the Pacific Island community but now he'll forever be know as a drug dealing loser who threw it all away.

And he has thrown it all away. His footy exploits, his marriage, his dignity and now his freedom.

I'll always be grateful for the joyful memories he gave me as a footy player. His 226 games for the club can never be taken away. Nor his club record setting 152 tries which is unlikely to ever be beaten. He will always be Warrior #115. But I am no longer a fan.

Best of luck with whatever future you have left Manu...
 
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gREVUS

gREVUS

Long live the Rainbows and Butterflies
Contributor
I believed in Manu as a player, but I have never held sportsmen up as examples of who we as a people could be. sporting superstars is something i dont believe in. When he left the game i wished him well and hopped for great things for his future.
Now i so desperately want to separate the player from the fool. And i dont know if its right to do so, but given that he wasnt dealing drugs while at the warriors I wonder if its appropriate to put him in the RIP category of players?

RIP Manu
I am glad that we have this space to morn the death of Manu. He was a great player and a magnificent Warrior.
It is a real shame that he got hit by that car as he walked away from the warriors HQ on his final day.

I will remember him fondly and miss him greatly.
 
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Miket12

Miket12

A bit more insight into how it went down etc.

Manu Vatuvei meth case: 'Calamity of events' blamed for downfall from stardom to prison​

From the outside looking in, Manu Vatuvei seemed to be leading a charmed life in 2019.

The Auckland-based rugby league star had retired from the Warriors two years earlier after a lengthy run as one of the team's most recognisable names and had parlayed that celebrity status into a successful run on TV series Dancing with the Stars.

But what few outside his inner circle knew was that his life had fallen into disarray, a judge acknowledged on Wednesday as Vatuvei was sent to prison for his role in a methamphetamine importation scheme that saw the drug shipped to New Zealand from around the world in innocuous-seeming items such as jump ropes.

Vatuvei said nothing as he was led out of the Manukau District Court to begin serving his three years and seven months' sentence, but Judge Jonathan Moses offered him some words of encouragement.

"Your fall from grace is a punishment in itself," Moses acknowledged, pointing out that until recently Vatuvei had been a role model to many - especially Pasifika youth.

"Your final legacy in this community does not have to be defined by what has happened today. When you are released, you will still have a lot of your life to live."

Prime time to amateur hour​

Although it wouldn't be known until a year-and-a-half later due to a lengthy name suppression battle, Vatuvei was one of four people arrested in November 2019 following a joint police and Customs investigation dubbed Operation Clydesdale.

Vatuvei was described by authorities as second-in-command under his older brother, 49-year-old Lopini Lautau Mafi. Also appearing before Judge Moses on Wednesday, Mafi received a sentence of seven years and two months - twice that of his brother.

Lawyers for both brothers agreed Mafi was the leader of the operation, but they downplayed its significance as "amateurish".

"Frankly ... the syndicate was not sophisticated whatsoever," Steven Lack told the judge, explaining that his client Mafi used addresses and phone numbers that were easily traced back to him and communicated via WhatsApp texts, which authorities were able to easily retrieve.

Lack also referred to a video recovered by police that showed both brothers unpackaging methamphetamine packets hidden among hair accessories in a package from India. The video was kept on Mafi's phone and the two made no attempts to mask their identity, he pointed out, noting that multiple packages were intercepted by Customs.

"There was no evidence of significant financial gain on Mr Mafi's behalf," Lack said.

Judge Moses partially agreed. While the operation was relatively unsophisticated, it was by no means minor, he said, pointing out that the crew was able to import at least 2kg of methamphetamine, and likely "a great deal more" that wasn't ever recovered.

Both brothers faced a maximum possible sentence of life in prison for the charges they pleaded guilty to.

A dark place​

By the time Vatuvei joined the operation, he was staying in the home he had bought for his parents - "self-medicating" with drugs and alcohol, lawyer Vivienne Feyen said, as his marriage was on the rocks.

For the first time, the recent setbacks in his life - an injury resulting in the end of his stellar league career, a brain cyst that ended his attempt at a post-Warriors boxing career after just one fight, marriage troubles and malaise about what to do with the rest of his life - had started to mount, she said.

"We have a situation where from 2002 upwards to 2017 he'd spent his life in a very structured environment," she said of his Warriors career, adding that Vatuvei had received "guidance and support" from the team since the age of 16.

"It is apparent that he was ill-equipped to make these fundamental life transitions [after retirement]. That goes to the heart of his decision-making process, his reasoning."

Fifteen prior years of good judgment and avoidance of drugs had given way to a "calamity of events and emotional trauma" that resulted in him being "in a very black spot", she said, adding that it impaired his reasoning.

That is the context, she said, in which he decided to step in and help out his brother - who also lived in their parents' house - with his criminal enterprise.

It was a feeling of familial obligation, not profit, that led him down the wrong path, she suggested.

Prosecutors said Vatuvei first became involved in August and September 2019, when his brother spent time in jail on an unrelated charge. He continued to play a role after his brother was hospitalised.

Mafi, meanwhile, was described in reports provided to the judge as having been addicted to methamphetamine before he started importing it. The addiction reportedly started, the judge noted, after a surgery that left him in significant pain and discomfort.

"It does appear that your upbringing had been marred by both physical and other abuse," the judge noted, adding that Mafi "took solace in gangs at a young age" and later turned to drugs.

Moses noted that Vatuvei had long looked up to his older brother.

"I am prepared to accept that your primary motivation was to assist your brother, who was in hospital at the time," he said.

But Vatuvei likely would have known the scale of the importation operation and he would have expected financial gain at some point, Moses said.

"I accept that [recent life setbacks] had left you in a dark place," the judge also said.

The evidence​

Court documents state Vatuvei was directly involved in two of the imports - including a package labelled "sporting kits" that instead contained 487g of methamphetamine concealed inside skipping rope handles.

The other package, authorities said, wasn't ever intercepted.

Documents also outline other instances in which the sporting star was mentioned.

One such shipment, labelled "import 4", involved 1.7kg of methamphetamine concealed inside a suitcase sent from South Africa. It was intercepted on October 9, 2019.

Vatuvei called DHL from his own mobile phone inquiring about the package, and at one point his brother also came on the line, authorities alleged.

"Import 7", from Africa, was delivered two weeks later to a Manurewa address that Vatuvei "has links to", with his mobile phone data showing he visited a neighbouring home nine days earlier, documents state.

Less than an hour before the delivery, Vatuvei had been on the phone with another co-defendant, authorities reported. After talking for just over one minute, Vatuvei texted him the address where the package would soon arrive.

"Take home don't open k let me know when your there," he texted immediately thereafter.

After confirming the package was retrieved, Vatuvei typed: "Lesssgooooo once I'm done here I'll come down and then we can open it up sweet."

The co-defendant typed back: "Nothing moves without you."

In a text to another associate late that night, Vatuvei wrote: "just packed some stuff up but yeah you want me to bring you that bad stuff to check it properly".

But it was "import 8" - the skipping ropes from India - that eventually resulted in the brothers' arrests.

The package was set to be delivered to a Papatoetoe home neighbouring where Vatuvei and Mafi lived with their parents. Customs intercepted the package and removed most of the 487g of methamphetamine, replacing it with a look-alike, before conducting an undercover sting on November 28.

Officers added a "chemical marking powder" that would show up on anyone who handled the package, then a Customs officer posing as a delivery driver took it to the marked address.

Mafi met the courier driver outside and signed for it, and he along with Vatuvei opened the package just a few minutes later, according to the court documents.

Authorities executed a search warrant within 15 minutes of the delivery, and both brothers were arrested. Both were found to have tracking powder on their clothes and hands.

Vatuvei exercised his right to remain silent.

Mana​

Vatuvei wasn't the leader of the small syndicate but he did play "an operational and management role", Crown prosecutor Jessica Pridgeon said, adding that the celebrity's significant amount of "mana given his career" played a part in at least one of the alleged underlings participating in the scheme.

She asked that both brothers' sentences serve as a deterrent and a denunciation.

"There are very few crimes that carry a maximum penalty of life imprisonment," she said. "That's because of the significant social harm this crime causes to our society.

Lawyers for both brothers emphasised their clients' remorse to Judge Moses.

Vatvuvei's lawyer acknowledged the stark difference between his days as a beloved celebrity and now.

"Disgrace, I think, is an appropriate word," Feyen. "He has fallen from grace - not a little but a long way."

Mafi looked down at his lap for much of his sentencing, including when his lawyer acknowledged it was him who played the leading role in the syndicate. But the older brother, who attended via an audio-video feed due to Covid-19 restrictions at the courthouse, could be seen pacing after Judge Moses began discussing how much prison time Vatuvei should serve.

"It's no secret that Mr Mafi is very regretful for the position he has put his family in - particularly his brother," his lawyer said. "That is something he will have to deal with for the rest of his life."

 
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mt.wellington

mt.wellington

Warriors Orange Peeler
Red bull and sleeping pills anyone ?!!!!!!!!!!!!
Who knew Red Bull and Zopiclones were a gateway drug? I was even more disappointed to see him having a ciggie outside the courtroom just before sentencing. How the hell do you start smoking in your 30s after being a professional athlete for over 15 years???
 
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wizards rage

wizards rage

Manu Vatuvei meth case: 'Calamity of events' blamed for downfall from stardom to prison​

From the outside looking in, Manu Vatuvei seemed to be leading a charmed life in 2019.

The Auckland-based rugby league star had retired from the Warriors two years earlier after a lengthy run as one of the team's most recognisable names and had parlayed that celebrity status into a successful run on TV series Dancing with the Stars.

But what few outside his inner circle knew was that his life had fallen into disarray, a judge acknowledged on Wednesday as Vatuvei was sent to prison for his role in a methamphetamine importation scheme that saw the drug shipped to New Zealand from around the world in innocuous-seeming items such as jump ropes.

Vatuvei said nothing as he was led out of the Manukau District Court to begin serving his three years and seven months' sentence, but Judge Jonathan Moses offered him some words of encouragement.

"Your fall from grace is a punishment in itself," Moses acknowledged, pointing out that until recently Vatuvei had been a role model to many - especially Pasifika youth.

"Your final legacy in this community does not have to be defined by what has happened today. When you are released, you will still have a lot of your life to live."

Prime time to amateur hour​

Although it wouldn't be known until a year-and-a-half later due to a lengthy name suppression battle, Vatuvei was one of four people arrested in November 2019 following a joint police and Customs investigation dubbed Operation Clydesdale.

Vatuvei was described by authorities as second-in-command under his older brother, 49-year-old Lopini Lautau Mafi. Also appearing before Judge Moses on Wednesday, Mafi received a sentence of seven years and two months - twice that of his brother.

Lawyers for both brothers agreed Mafi was the leader of the operation, but they downplayed its significance as "amateurish".

"Frankly ... the syndicate was not sophisticated whatsoever," Steven Lack told the judge, explaining that his client Mafi used addresses and phone numbers that were easily traced back to him and communicated via WhatsApp texts, which authorities were able to easily retrieve.

Lack also referred to a video recovered by police that showed both brothers unpackaging methamphetamine packets hidden among hair accessories in a package from India. The video was kept on Mafi's phone and the two made no attempts to mask their identity, he pointed out, noting that multiple packages were intercepted by Customs.

"There was no evidence of significant financial gain on Mr Mafi's behalf," Lack said.

Judge Moses partially agreed. While the operation was relatively unsophisticated, it was by no means minor, he said, pointing out that the crew was able to import at least 2kg of methamphetamine, and likely "a great deal more" that wasn't ever recovered.

Both brothers faced a maximum possible sentence of life in prison for the charges they pleaded guilty to.

A dark place​

By the time Vatuvei joined the operation, he was staying in the home he had bought for his parents - "self-medicating" with drugs and alcohol, lawyer Vivienne Feyen said, as his marriage was on the rocks.

For the first time, the recent setbacks in his life - an injury resulting in the end of his stellar league career, a brain cyst that ended his attempt at a post-Warriors boxing career after just one fight, marriage troubles and malaise about what to do with the rest of his life - had started to mount, she said.

"We have a situation where from 2002 upwards to 2017 he'd spent his life in a very structured environment," she said of his Warriors career, adding that Vatuvei had received "guidance and support" from the team since the age of 16.

"It is apparent that he was ill-equipped to make these fundamental life transitions [after retirement]. That goes to the heart of his decision-making process, his reasoning."

Fifteen prior years of good judgment and avoidance of drugs had given way to a "calamity of events and emotional trauma" that resulted in him being "in a very black spot", she said, adding that it impaired his reasoning.

That is the context, she said, in which he decided to step in and help out his brother - who also lived in their parents' house - with his criminal enterprise.

It was a feeling of familial obligation, not profit, that led him down the wrong path, she suggested.

Prosecutors said Vatuvei first became involved in August and September 2019, when his brother spent time in jail on an unrelated charge. He continued to play a role after his brother was hospitalised.

Mafi, meanwhile, was described in reports provided to the judge as having been addicted to methamphetamine before he started importing it. The addiction reportedly started, the judge noted, after a surgery that left him in significant pain and discomfort.

"It does appear that your upbringing had been marred by both physical and other abuse," the judge noted, adding that Mafi "took solace in gangs at a young age" and later turned to drugs.

Moses noted that Vatuvei had long looked up to his older brother.

"I am prepared to accept that your primary motivation was to assist your brother, who was in hospital at the time," he said.

But Vatuvei likely would have known the scale of the importation operation and he would have expected financial gain at some point, Moses said.

"I accept that [recent life setbacks] had left you in a dark place," the judge also said.

The evidence​

Court documents state Vatuvei was directly involved in two of the imports - including a package labelled "sporting kits" that instead contained 487g of methamphetamine concealed inside skipping rope handles.

The other package, authorities said, wasn't ever intercepted.

Documents also outline other instances in which the sporting star was mentioned.

One such shipment, labelled "import 4", involved 1.7kg of methamphetamine concealed inside a suitcase sent from South Africa. It was intercepted on October 9, 2019.

Vatuvei called DHL from his own mobile phone inquiring about the package, and at one point his brother also came on the line, authorities alleged.

"Import 7", from Africa, was delivered two weeks later to a Manurewa address that Vatuvei "has links to", with his mobile phone data showing he visited a neighbouring home nine days earlier, documents state.

Less than an hour before the delivery, Vatuvei had been on the phone with another co-defendant, authorities reported. After talking for just over one minute, Vatuvei texted him the address where the package would soon arrive.

"Take home don't open k let me know when your there," he texted immediately thereafter.

After confirming the package was retrieved, Vatuvei typed: "Lesssgooooo once I'm done here I'll come down and then we can open it up sweet."

The co-defendant typed back: "Nothing moves without you."

In a text to another associate late that night, Vatuvei wrote: "just packed some stuff up but yeah you want me to bring you that bad stuff to check it properly".

But it was "import 8" - the skipping ropes from India - that eventually resulted in the brothers' arrests.

The package was set to be delivered to a Papatoetoe home neighbouring where Vatuvei and Mafi lived with their parents. Customs intercepted the package and removed most of the 487g of methamphetamine, replacing it with a look-alike, before conducting an undercover sting on November 28.

Officers added a "chemical marking powder" that would show up on anyone who handled the package, then a Customs officer posing as a delivery driver took it to the marked address.

Mafi met the courier driver outside and signed for it, and he along with Vatuvei opened the package just a few minutes later, according to the court documents.

Authorities executed a search warrant within 15 minutes of the delivery, and both brothers were arrested. Both were found to have tracking powder on their clothes and hands.

Vatuvei exercised his right to remain silent.

Mana​

Vatuvei wasn't the leader of the small syndicate but he did play "an operational and management role", Crown prosecutor Jessica Pridgeon said, adding that the celebrity's significant amount of "mana given his career" played a part in at least one of the alleged underlings participating in the scheme.

She asked that both brothers' sentences serve as a deterrent and a denunciation.

"There are very few crimes that carry a maximum penalty of life imprisonment," she said. "That's because of the significant social harm this crime causes to our society.

Lawyers for both brothers emphasised their clients' remorse to Judge Moses.

Vatvuvei's lawyer acknowledged the stark difference between his days as a beloved celebrity and now.

"Disgrace, I think, is an appropriate word," Feyen. "He has fallen from grace - not a little but a long way."

Mafi looked down at his lap for much of his sentencing, including when his lawyer acknowledged it was him who played the leading role in the syndicate. But the older brother, who attended via an audio-video feed due to Covid-19 restrictions at the courthouse, could be seen pacing after Judge Moses began discussing how much prison time Vatuvei should serve.

"It's no secret that Mr Mafi is very regretful for the position he has put his family in - particularly his brother," his lawyer said. "That is something he will have to deal with for the rest of his life."

Not condoning it but I can understand how he got there. Malaise after a huge career. Marriage break up. Strong family connections pulling him in.

While most don’t do a Manu, there seem to be a vulnerable point in your life when successful professional sports people finish their career.

Again, not condoning it but in the end a weak personality showed through, he took the easy road and is paying dearly.
 
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