Too Good Tuesday recalls one of the great individual feats of the NRL era – Bulldogs centre Nigel Vagana’s five-try haul against South Sydney in 2002.
Vagana became the first New Zealander to top the premiership’s tryscoring table in 2002, and the first non-Australian to score more than 100 career tries. He retired as the 13th-highest try-scorer of all-time with 140 touchdowns from 240 games for the Warriors, Bulldogs, Sharks and Rabbitohs, and still sits in 17th place seven years later.
The Kiwi and Samoan international was most potent at the Bulldogs (61 tries in 76 games), where he headed the NRL in 2002 (23 tries) and finished third in 2003 (22 tries), carrying off the Dally M Centre of the Year gong in both seasons.
Vagana claimed seven career hat-tricks and was also the Kiwis’ most prolific Test try-scorer, collecting 19 in 37 appearances. His marks for most first-grade tries by an overseas player and most Test tries for New Zealand were both eclipsed by Manu Vatuvei in the past year.
On one charmed night against Souths early in 2002, Vagana became the first player in eight years to score five tries in a premiership match, equalling the Bulldogs’ club record set by Edgar Newham 60 years earlier. Vagana scored five of his side’s six tries in a 32-6 victory.