Tevita Pangai Jnr has drawn comparisons to Jason Taumalolo in just his third year in the NRL, and asserted himself as one of the competition’s powerhouse forwards. Hence why only signing a one year extension with Brisbane is a story of great risk, great reward.
While many believe Pangai Jnr only signed a one year deal at Red Hill so he could follow Wayne Bennett to South Sydney in 2020, and they may be true, there’s more to his decision than his former head coach.
The hulking forward is a short priced favourite to don the Broncos’ starting number 13 jersey following Josh McGuire’s immediate departure to Townsville, allowing him the ability to roam the park and gain additional minutes on the field.
He’s also committed to a stunning representative backflip, turning his back on his home nation of Tonga for the chance to play for New South Wales in the 2019 Origin series.
Jack de Belin’s assault charge may see him hit with a lengthy suspension from rugby league, and potentially even jail time, if found guilty.
His absence would pave the way for Jake Trbojevic to move into the starting role, and see Tevita Pangai Jnr earn a place on the interchange bench for the Blues.
But while a strong season at lock and a State of Origin debut would dramatically increase the forward’s asking price, his short term contract also carries quite the risk.
Pangai Jnr was struck down with hamstring issues constantly in 2018, seeing him spend several weeks on the sidelines.
The issue is, unlike a broken bone, hamstring issues are something that are reoccurring, especially for a forward as dynamic as the young Bronco.
If hamstring issues do reappear in 2019 and continue to plague Pangai Jnr, then it could drastically impact his chance of gaining an upgraded and/or long term contract.
But Pangai Jnr is a man blessed with confidence, and blessed with ability. He knows his best football is ahead of him, and he’s willing to run the gauntlet to prove it.
Whether it be with Brisbane or South Sydney, Pangai Jnr will have a contract waiting for him for the 2020 season.
Whether he reaps the rewards or endures the consequences, his self belief will see him achieve all he is capable of, and spend 2019 proving himself. He doesn’t see the risk. He doesn’t need to.