Thorn and streets of San Francisco inspire Pangai
Tevita Pangai jnr ran over the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco in the off-season with the words of his mentor Brad Thorn ringing in his ears.
"Brad Thorn told me that to become a leader you've got to learn to push yourself and the only way you can do that is to learn to train by yourself," the Brisbane forward told NRL.com.
"He said it's a lonely road but if you can get through those long runs on your own and take yourself to your limit then you don't have to rely on the senior players or anyone else on game day to push you.
"So in the off-season, I went on a heap of runs when I visited family in America. I was in San Francisco and went running through the city streets, past Fisherman's Wharf and over in Oakland. I ran over the Golden Gate Bridge and it was freezing, but it was a great experience.
"All I was thinking about was Brad Thorn's words and how to get mentally tougher. I even ran around the streets of Las Vegas and down the main strip."
Pangai met the retired dual international, who now coaches the Queensland Reds, last year and has kept in touch with the Broncos premiership winner as he targets becoming a genuine forward leader at the club.
Thorn, who also won premierships in Super Rugby with the Crusaders, gave Pangai advice that he had applied himself.
When Thorn was 16 and living in Brisbane his father sent him to run in the Bunyaville Forest in the city's north to improve his work ethic and discipline, qualities he was lacking at the time.
For the next 16 years Thorn ran on his own in the forest, which he considered "sacred ground", and he regarded it as a key factor in giving him a big motor.
"Brad told me about all those forest runs he used to do and how I just needed to adapt it to my own preparation," Pangai said
"Even when I go the gym now I try and go by myself and get the reps out and not rely on anyone else.
"The first two years I was here I always had my arse hanging out and Andrew McCullough would spray me to get back into the defensive line, but I think you've seen in the early rounds this season that I'm not relying on anyone else to push me."
Pangai said Brisbane need to improve rapidly when they face the Sydney Roosters on Friday night after admitting "Jake Trbojevic ripped us a new one" last week in the disappointing loss to Manly.
"Brad Thorn always told me he prided himself on getting back there and if I have to get back there to get the ball in my hands for carry one or carry two then I'll do that," he said.
"I know [the Roosters] are going to come up here and try and spoil the party.
"I was a bit off on the weekend. I usually try and compete against someone in the other pack and I didn't do that.
"Being young you want to try and make a name in the competition but there are no easy games and Wayne [Bennett] has spoken to us about that. I don't like it when Wayne takes me off but hopefully I can earn his trust to keep me out there."