Broncos X-Factor: Ben Te'o

Ben Te’o has reason to smile in 2009. At the Broncos on a two year deal and away from his controversial exit from the Wests Tigers, Te’o is in a good place and ready to let rip in ‘09 as a confident member of a new-look Broncos pack.<br><br>Within that pack he is regarded by many fans as a replacement for Tonie Carroll, due to his fearsome tackling, but it is his defensive misses which have also been costly for Te’o. If he rectifies this he can be a huge force this year.<br><br>Renowned in the past for his bone rattling shoulder charges Te’o insists he has worked on his hit or miss defensive technique during the pre-season and given Tonie Carroll’s standing among the Bronco’s faithful, he knows a lot is expected of him.<br><br>“I know I’ve got to do things to help the team and I know it’s not always about going for the big shoulder charge. I need to use correct technique and make a big hit that helps the team.<br><br>“We do a lot of tackling with (tackling coach) Peter Ryan and I’ve watched a lot of video of Tonie Carroll and Sam Thaiday, obviously we’re different players but I hope to be hitting like that.”<br><br>Te’o also has the role of defending next to Darren Lockyer in the Broncos line. With the amount of traffic that is run at the Brisbane and Australian captain, it means Te’o will have to shoulder a lot of defensive responsibility. He doesn’t mind though and is thrilled to be playing alongside a champion of the game.<br><br>“For me it has been a huge plus coming to a club with a player like that. I defend on the right hand side, next to Locky and he’s always helping me out and giving me advice. To get one on one coaching from him is certainly going to help me.”<br><br>That’s not the only reason Te’o is champing at the bit to play with the Broncos star. As a rare forward who can sniff out a try (10 in 38 games) he knows the benefits running off Lockyer could bring.<br><br>“Darren knows how to give a great ball to put you through a hole and positions you so well. I look forward running off him.”<br><br>With club stalwarts like Shane Webcke, Petero Civoniceva, Dane Carlaw, Tonie Carroll and to a lesser extent David Stagg and Ben Hannant departing over recent seasons, the Broncos pack has become a talking point. <br><br>The new look pack is younger and perhaps lacks the consistency of the one of old, but Te’o insists the current crop of forwards are looking to show they are the future.<br><br>“We’re going to have to stand up. Try and build something up and do a good job without those guys, but at the same time it’s our time now and we can get the job done.<br><br>“A guy like Ashton Sims is on the up. He came out of the World Cup a few kilos overweight but played very well. I’m expecting him to have a big year at the club as well.”<br><br>With one more pre-season under his belt after what was a scintillating one match cameo at the World Cup as he and his Samoa teammates thrashed France 42-10, Te’o is ready to get the ball rolling and is sporting a heavier but leaner look in 2009.<br><br>“I’ve had a set of goals to achieve this pre-season and have achieved them. I’ve been doing a lot more in the weights room and have put on a bit of bulk and a bit of muscle. Last year I was 103kg, this year I’m 107kg and my skin folds are the lowest they have been as well so I’m fairly happy with that.”<br><br>As for Te’o he wants two things from this season, to be a consistent starter and put the ugliness of his exit from the Tigers behind him.<br><br>“It wasn’t the ideal situation but it’s in the past now. At the time it wasn’t pleasant but I have moved on from it.<br><br>“The goal is to cement a spot in the starting 13 and then keep that throughout the season. That’s what I’d like to do this year, make sure I play well and contribute to the team every week as well as building up mine and the teams momentum.”<br><br>