Pangai driven by 4am road runs to honour Dad
Tevita Pangai jnr is a compulsive trainer and puts his work ethic down to 4am runs home in the dark that he used to do as a teenager in Newcastle after his father dropped him off on the way to work.
The 22-year-old powerhouse, who has been restricted to three games in the last two months and is battling a hamstring injury leading into Friday's round-19 clash with Penrith at Suncorp Stadium, is known around Broncos HQ as one of the hardest workers in the club.
Broncos captain Darius Boyd said Pangai sometimes trains too hard and the man himself explained to NRL.com how that work ethic had its genesis as a youth when his father would drive cabs in the early hours of the morning in Sydney.
Then when the Pangai family moved to Newcastle the patriarch of the family would rise at 4am to work at Steggles. Young Tevita would cry in the dark before deciding he would join his father and hitch a lift down the road.
"I used to get real sad when Dad would get up early in the morning and do taxi runs, and then when we moved to Newcastle he’d get up at 4am in the morning and work hard at Steggles just to put food on our table and clothes on our back," Pangai said.
"I was around 13 or 14 and I would cry in my room when he left because I knew it was hard on him, but then I decided I'd get up with him each morning and he would drop me off five kilometres down the road and I'd run home.
"It was Dad’s work ethic that gave us a good life and I wanted to make sure that I made the most out of my career after what he did for us. Dad always told me to do that extra training and more than anybody else, but I’ve just got to be doing it smarter."
The Tongan international, who is off contract, is in the sights of rival clubs but the Broncos are hopeful of keeping him at the club along with a host of young forwards.
In his holiday to San Francisco last off-season he would train most days and even ran over the Golden Gate Bridge and in the team's recent bye week, he went back to the United States and trained each day.
"I have been working hard on my body and getting to know my body better. It is a long season and probably the toughest competition in the world," he said.
"You have to play 25 rounds in the middle and have the key components of speed, endurance and power.
"I’m pretty durable but I don’t want my body breaking down. As Darius said, I tend to over-train a bit so hopefully I can tone it down a bit and focus on my rehab and prehab workouts rather than doing the hard cardio or endurance sessions."
Pangai, who has been named to start in the back row on Friday night, said he was on track to play after missing the 26-6 loss to the Warriors.