Tevita Pangai Junior has finished his stint breaking rocks in the hot sun, ready to face Wynnum Manly this Friday night:
“It was a tough time, but I learnt a lot. It has made me grateful. I worked at a plant nursery. I was doing heaps of stock moving, out in the sun a lot and digging up a lot of soil. It was bloody hot in the green rooms, but I took it all as a positive experience. I made about $760 a week, it was well down on my Broncos pay. My Broncos salary helps pay for my family’s mortgage so I had to dip into my savings, but to have it (his NRL wage) taken away from me was definitely a reality check and I’m glad I learnt my lesson. The pay wasn’t so great but I was grateful that I got to learn what everyday people do and it was a wake-up call for how lucky we are as NRL players."
“I have been pretty blessed in my life. I actually left high school early to go into an NRL system, I have never had a 9-to-5 job, so it was an eye opener. It was tough work. I would get up at 4am to train, then I was at work for eight hours and training again in the afternoon. It was very humbling.”
“I don’t want to blow it all. I know the player I can be. I thought I was going to get punted."
View attachment 11386
All out of bubblegum
“The Broncos actually gave me permission to negotiate, I was pretty much resigned to leaving. But my dad is a big Broncos fan and he didn’t want me to go, then when ’Kevvie’ (Kevin Walters) got the (coaching) job, he called me and said he didn’t want to lose me. He said he was looking forward to working with me and that meant a lot to me."
“This has given me a chance to self-reflect on the period I have had. This is my sixth year in the NRL now so eventually the penny has to drop. If you take your eye off the prize and what’s important, you pay the price, so I need to get back to what’s important. It was pretty daunting to front the board. I had to admit I did the wrong thing and I asked them for a second chance."
“I just feel like it‘s my last chance before I miss the bus. I remember seeing an interview with Roger Federer (tennis legend) and he was saying it’s easy to miss the bus when you are young and have all the talent, but don’t put in the hard work. I‘ve been watching the tennis and I watch someone like Ash Barty and the way she carries herself. She keeps her cool and is very balanced mentally. That’s the way I need to be."
“I played my last game at 121kg which was way too big for me, but I‘m down to 114kg, which is my playing weight when I play my best footy. I have watched what I ate and taken up some distance running. I did some boxing training and was running six or 10km so I‘m a lot fitter than I was last year. I can’t wait to get back playing again. It’s time to pay back the Broncos and their fans this year. I have made some mistakes and I want to change how I am perceived."
“I have to make the right choices now ... simple as that.”
Ash Barty was killing it to start the match. Opposition took a break and then Barty crumbled to pieces. Sounds like Barty studied the broncos of 2020