GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - JULY 08: Tevita Pangai of the Broncos runs the ball during the round 17 NRL match between the Gold Coast Titans and the Brisbane Broncos at Cbus Super Stadium on July 8, 2018 in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

NSW Blues coach Brad Fittler has revealed that Brisbane Broncos star Tevita Pangai Junior has aligned himself with NSW for next year’s State of Origin Series.

The 22-year-old was eligible for both the Blues and Tonga due to the Mate Ma’a being classified a second-tier rugby league nation.

And after being named to NSW’s 32-man training squad in Sydney next month, Fittler has confirmed Pangai Junior’s availability for the 2019 Origin Series.

“He’s committing to the Blues for the series,” Fittler told Channel 9.

“He understands there’s a Tongan Test match in the middle of that and he’s happy to walk away from that.

“He’ll get the opportunity to play for Tonga at the end of the year.

“He recognises where he’s from. He grew up in Newcastle.

“He’s a really good player. Young kid. He did a fantastic job for Tonga again.

“I look forward to seeing him come down and meet all the players. He’ll put a lot of pressure on the team.”

Fittler has defended his decision to select Bronco Matt Lodge following the controversial forward’s New York rampage in 2015.

The Blues coach said Lodge deserves an opportunity and wants to learn more about his character.

“I never knew Matt in October 2015, I’ve never met Matt since,” Fittler said.

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“I don’t know much about him.

“What he did for Brisbane this year he did under a lot of pressure and a lot of scrutiny. I thought he did a pretty good job.

“No one can change what happened in the past, but once again, I just want to get him involved and get to know the bloke.”

Fittler also explained that former Blues halfback Mitchell Pearce has been thrown a lifeline as a reinforcement for Penrith Panthers duo Nathan Cleary and James Maloney.

“The big thing was Nathan had an operation in the off-season, so did James Maloney,” Fittler said.

“Injuries play a big part, so you obviously need people there just in case.

“Mitchell had a fantastic season (this) year, played with injury, but he’s someone who’s been there before. His record hasn’t shown to be fantastic, but I know he’s very capable.”

8 COMMENTS

  1. QLD origin fans must be feeling nervous now when they also look at the Blues squad and the Blues emerging players.

    The referees will just have to continue working overtime during the series to maintain a level playing field… as always. 😉

    • Was always going to happen the we seem to be good on the backs and spine for depth but qld really lacking in the forward pack they really need a couple of the young boys like Ofahengaue, Su’a, Carrigan, Fifita, Bateman, Capewell, Hipgrave and Felise to really step up and really play to there potential if qld has any to stop a nsw run of there own

      • The NSW U18’s and U20’s have dominated the series for about 6 years now and when you compare both extended squads it looks like QLD’s “golden era” is over!

        Su’a has a big rap on him and I can see that Fifita is a gun but I back TPJ, Haas, Murray, Crichton, Radley and the rest of the emerging NSW forwards over the guys you mentioned every day of the week. If the games are officiated fairly and QLD don’t get more than one game at home I can see “nothing but Blue skies from now on”.

        • Thank you Willie Nelson. I do tend to agree though, with Thurston, Smith and Cronk out I just don’t think QLD have those type of influential players (third referee Smith for example) let alone the forwards to match NSW. It really is quite a scary proposition if you are a QLD supporter. Oh well, after such a dominant period things had to eventually turn NSW way.😭😭😭

        • Except last year when qld 20’s won and hasn’t been six years it’s been about 11-12 years of domination by nsw u der 20’s I’m pretty sure qld winning last year was first time ever

          I agree with you but I would much rather nsw emerging squad over Alston would be silly not to think that. I’m just saying if qld has a chance they need those players plus players like Hess, Papalii and Arrow to really stand up or else nsw will just run over the top of qld for years to come

          and also what dreaglor said you simply can’t replace that level of talent as all of them have had a immortal type of career but I still think players like Taylor, Brimson, Croft, Milford, Munster and Clifford All have very high ceilings and even if they are not better then nsw young guns like Keary, Cleary, and Moses they could still be on there level when it’s all said and done.

        • blah blah blah NSW golden era, blah blah NSW domination, blah blah NSW under 20’s future origin, blah QLD no depth. I have heard this dribble for decades and QLD usually find the players needed to do the job, regardless of their örigin”

          I am not worried.

        • @ warriorsemg

          “and hasn’t been six years it’s been about 11-12 years of domination by nsw u der 20’s I’m pretty sure qld winning last year was first time ever”

          Mate, I suppose it’s like the QLDers in State of Origin, after so many you lose count! 😂😂😂
          And leave Moses out of it unless you want to give NSW a handicap!

          @ tommy

          “blah blah blah NSW golden era… I am not worried.”

          Which means that you ARE. And I never said anything about a “golden era” you did so another tell. 😂😂😂
          I think you are just putting on a brave face tommy but dreaglor I think expresses the honest heart of all QLDers when he says; “It really is quite a scary proposition if you are a QLD supporter. Oh well, after such a dominant period things had to eventually turn NSW way.”

          Come on tommy, let it out. It’s not healthy to bottle it up inside you…. .😭😭😭.😭😭😭
          There! Feel better now? 😂😂😂

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