Ofahengaue: We must lead like Webcke and Civoniceva did
Brisbane Broncos prop Joe Ofahengaue has challenged himself and his fellow youthful forwards to become on-field leaders like club legends Petero Civoniceva and Shane Webcke.
The 22-year-old forward has the likes of Tevita Pangai Jnr (22) and Korbin Sims (25) by his side and said they all needed to take ownership up front as the Broncos usher in a changing of the guard in the pack.
"Us young players have got to really own it now," Ofahengaue told NRL.com ahead of Friday night's clash with the Wests Tigers.
"I've been here for four years now and I have seen the club rebuild with [Corey Parker] retiring and Blairy [Adam Blair] leaving.
"Sammy Thaiday is here but he's not going to be here for long so we've all got to step up, not just for Sammy, but to keep this club where it needs to be and where it used to be back in the day.
"Webby and Petero weren't leaders from the start but we all know how they played. They wouldn't have said much on the field, just led with their actions.
"We've got to keep learning off each other and keep feeding off each other's energy so hopefully we can do something special this year and stop all the talk."
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Ofahengaue has played all bar three of his 48 Telstra Premiership games off the bench for the Broncos but has been a regular in the top 17 after forcing his way back into the side mid-season in 2017.
"I have got no excuses now," he said.
"I've grown up a bit, mentally and physically, and I think this year if I am to stay in the 17 it is all going to be on the back of hard work.
"An eight or a 10 jersey, it is going to come, but I have to keep working for it."
That all starts again on Friday night in Campbelltown.
"I know I can do better," Ofahengaue said.
"Every week we have something to prove and this week I have something to prove as well.
"I can come off the bench and add a bit of energy and heps out the second-rowers, and Macca [Andrew McCullough] who plays 80 minutes.
"I just want to get the ball in my hands straight away to get in the game straight away, even if it's off a kick-off or a tap."
Ofahengaue said he now weighed 114kg, slightly lighter than his playing weight last year, and had left no stone unturned to get in top shape after off-season surgery following last year's World Cup campaign with Tonga.
"I had two knee surgeries, just little cleanouts, which stopped me from training in case I got an infection," he said.
"I have done a lot of off-feet work on the bike because running more just wears my knees out.
"We do some pilates, kind of like active stretching or active yoga pretty much, and you get a little sweat out of it and really work your core.
"I stopped drinking for a while. The most I'd have on the weekend is a beer, if not nothing. I've been playing Play Station a lot and trying to stay off the piss.
"I'm just trying to respect my body a lot more."