Pangai Jr vows to safeguard his hammies
TEVITA Pangai Jr yesterday ended a year of speculation by inking a new deal with the Broncos.
Now the hard work begins to beat a frustrating injury curse as Brisbane look to unleash Tevita the Terminator next season.
Dubbed “Jason Taumalolo 2.0” by teammate Corey Oates, Pangai Jr is hoping to emulate the Cowboys wrecking ball by building a stronger body to ensure he maximises his talent.
A 12- month extension with the Broncos gives Pangai Jr, 22, sufficient security without the risk of complacency as he strives to deliver the most consistent, injury- free football of his career in 2019.
Even Taumalolo believes his Tongan Test colleague has the potential to be the most explosive forward in the code, but first Pangai Jr must fix weak hamstrings which belie his monstrous 113kg frame.
While he played 22 games last season, Pangai Jr had persistent hamstring issues. He either missed matches altogether or faced last- minute fitness tests to get on the park.
Brisbane’s pack has been hit by the loss of Cowboys recruit Josh McGuire and retired warhorse Sam Thaiday, putting the heat on Pangai Jr to stay fit.
“Last year wasn’t the year I really wanted, so I’ve had a long review of my body and my season,” Pangai Jr said.
“I need to work on the recovery side of things. I need to make sure I do all the little things off the field.
“As a professional athlete, you have to do the 1 per cent things to look after your body. It’s a 24- 7 job, even in the offseason you should be looking after yourself.
“I’m now looking at my diet and how much sleep I get. I’m going to change my whole lifestyle and make sure I’m putting football first.”
Entering his fourth NRL campaign, Pangai Jr, who has amassed 54 first grade games, spent the off- season finetuning his body.
While holidaying in the US last month, the Broncos powerhouse looked for an edge, contacting a Los Angeles speed coach for sprint training.
To strengthen his hamstrings, he performed specific exercises with the help of sports- science guru Steven Duhig at Griffith University.
“My hamstrings were severely weak for my size,” he said. “I am a power athlete but my hamstrings weren’t coping.
“As my trainer Steve was saying if the foundations are weak, the house will collapse.
“That’s the analogy he used for my hamstrings. I’m a big house but the foundations weren’t strong.
“Steve also found me a guy to do some sprint training in America. If I can add a bit of speed and be a better athlete next season, it would be good.”