Pan­gai Jr vows to safe­guard his ham­mies

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - PE­TER BADEL

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.”

POW­ER­HOUSE: Te­vita Pan­gai Jr has re- signed with the Bron­cos.

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