Bennett's influence sways Pangai's decision
The influence of coach Wayne Bennett and not the lure of linking up again with younger brother Tevita Pangai Jr convinced Moses Pangai to join the Brisbane Broncos on a two-year deal starting in 2017.
Pangai's management confirmed on Tuesday night that a number of NRL clubs were interested in the Tongan international but that the personal interest shown by Bennett was the decisive factor in pledging his NRL resurrection to Brisbane.
With uncertainty over the future of Jack Reed and Greg Eden returning to the Super League to play with Castleford next season Brisbane needed some bolstering in the outside backs and there are few more destructive runners in the game than the 191-centimetre, 111-kilogram Pangai.
Blackhawks coach and former Broncos assistant Kristian Woolf has coached Pangai at under-20s level at North Queensland through to the Tongan national team and says he is now in position mentally to make good on his almost limitless potential.
"The last two years has been the first time since the 20s that he's had to actually combine work and footy. He'd been in a full-time environment previous to that and that's certainly a bit of a leveller for anyone," Woolf told NRL.com.
"He's matured and going to make much more of a fist of it now.
"He realises that he probably hasn't put his best foot forward at times with other opportunities he's had. I'd be pretty confident that he will this time."
Having worked for the Townsville City Council and as a teacher's aide at Central State School over the past two years, Pangai is now in a position to bring a more professional approach to his rugby league career and Woolf was adamant that Brisbane is the right place to do it.
"He's from Sydney so he'd be just as comfortable in Sydney but I think the Broncos will be a really good club for him," said Woolf.
"I thought North Queensland at that stage of his career was the best place for him and for different reasons he chose to leave and it didn't work out but I think Brisbane could be a really good option for him at the moment.
"Wayne Bennett has got a very good history of getting the best out of players and I think he'll really suit Moses and he'll be able to get the best out of him.
"He's got enormous talent. I've got no doubt he can play NRL, it's just a matter of getting the best out of himself."
A giant in the under-20s competition where he debuted with the Wests Tigers as a 16-year-old, Pangai came to prominence whilst at the Cowboys where he represented the Junior Kangaroos and made his first grade debut in Round 1, 2012.
Failed stints at the Panthers, Wests Tigers and Raiders followed but two years playing for the Blackhawks in the Intrust Super Cup righted his career trajectory and sparked the interest of a number of NRL clubs.
Manly reportedly showed interest in signing Pangai prior to the June 30 deadline but his manager, Sam Ayoub, told NRL.com that he is confident he has made the right move in joining the Broncos.
Over the past two seasons he has scored 23 tries in 31 games for the Blackhawks, taking his tally of Intrust Super Cup games to 46 with 30 tries after a previous stint with the Mackay Cutters.
In four seasons in the NYC competition Pangai scored 28 tries in 75 games and played for the Cowboys in the 2011 NYC Grand Final.