Matai denies phone seized by police in match-fixing probe


Manly Sea Eagles centre Steve Matai has denied reports his phone was seized as part of a police investigation into match-fixing.

Matai was named in the media on Friday as the senior NRL player who had his phone taken by New South Wales Police, who are looking into allegations of corruption in the competition as part of their Strike Force Nuralda operation.

But the 32-year-old former New Zealand international has moved quickly to refute the reports, with his management set to commence legal proceedings for defamation against those responsible.

"My phone has never been out of my possession and I have never been interviewed by police," said Matai. 

"I am humiliated by the baseless rumour and this is really upsetting for my family.

"I can't believe my name has been thrown out there like this."

Manly CEO Joe Kelly added: "Steve Matai is a Life Member who has played over 200 games for the club. Of course we will support such an icon of our club.

"He has given us no reason to do otherwise over 14 years of service."

Three matches involving the Sea Eagles are believed to be at the centre of the probe.

"It is important that people, players and officials who may become part of this investigation are not wrongly accused or have their reputations unfairly tarnished on the basis of rumour," read a New South Wales Police statement.