Ofahengaue targets new Broncos deal and Maroons debut

Joe Ofahengaue insists he will let his football do the talking as he targets winning a contract extension with the Brisbane Broncos and a debut for the Queensland Maroons.

The off-contract Tongan international is set to be a regular starter this year for the Broncos and will run out alongside Matt Lodge in the trial clash with the Gold Coast Titans at CBUS Stadium on Saturday night.

The 23-year-old was on the cusp of making his Maroons debut in Game Three last year and in talks with coach Kevin Walters before an injury ruled him out of consideration.

The last time Ofahengaue was in talks with Brisbane about a contract extension in 2017 he was in and out of the side but said that now, as a top 17 regular, he was in a better position to secure his future.

"I have been in this position before. I’m talking to the club again and a couple of other clubs," Ofahengaue told NRL.com.

"Right now I'm just keen to get into round one and let my footy do the talking. Last time I was in this position I was playing Intrust Super Cup so I think this year I am in a better position than I was last time I was off-contract.

Brisbane forward Joe Ofahengaue.
Brisbane forward Joe Ofahengaue. ©Jason O'Brien/NRL Photos

"If I can play consistent footy hopefully a good contract will come my way. I'll see what happens. I'm not rushing it."

Joe's father Josh is the brother of Wallabies legend Willie Ofahengaue and played first-grade league with Marist Saints in New Zealand and represented Tonga in the early 1990s.

Josh said he wanted his son to play for Queensland and stay at Brisbane.

"The future is clear now for Joe. He played for the Roosters at a young age but I know for a fact that the Broncos is the right place for him," Josh told NRL.com.

"I'd love to see him play for the Maroons this year. I have given him my blessing to switch from playing with Tonga."

Joe is of the same mind as his father.

"I missed out last year on Origin but I was in talks with Kevvie before I got injured so wasn't able to play Game Three," he said.

"That gave me a lot of confidence to go out this year and try and get a jersey. That is one of my main goals this year. Obviously to make the Broncos team for round one is another, but to cement a spot in that Queensland team would be awesome."

Ofahengaue's market value will only increase if he can play Origin and put his stamp on a starting Broncos role, a task he is up for.

"Towards the back end of last year I started in about eight games and I took on a role to lead from the front," Ofahengaue said.

"This year hopefully I can lay a good platform with Lodgey [Matt Lodge].

Tonga forward Joe Ofahengaue.
Tonga forward Joe Ofahengaue. ©NRL Photos

"I don't think there is any pressure on us if we go out and play our style of footy. This is our era to go out and do something. The older boys gave us a a good pathway to take on this responsibility but I feel no pressure. I know Lodgey and Tevita [Pangai jnr] feel the same. If we go out there and play our brand of footy hopefully we can come away with a few more wins than last year."

Joe's father Josh insists his son realises he needs to step up.

"I am sure he will take the responsibility on. Joe is only young but something we talk about is that although he is not an old guy he has still been here the last four or five years, and to me he is one of the old folk," Josh said.

"He is going to have to help carry the team and he wants to play his part. He has played 70 NRL games now and he knows he is up to the challenge, and he has a lot of competition with all the young blokes in the squad."