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Joe knows Tigers could feed off hungry Tevita

While Joe Ofahengaue hasn't tried convincing Tevita Pangai jnr to join the Wests Tigers, he knows the "hunger" the explosive forward could bring to the club.

Ofahengaue will face Brisbane for the first time on Sunday having departed Red Hill after six seasons to play at Concord this year.

But he won't lock horns with Pangai jnr, who is suspended until round 20 and has been given permission to negotiate with rival teams despite being contracted until the end of 2022.

According to recent reports, the Bulldogs and Tigers are the leading suitors for the mercurial 25-year-old's services.

"I've had a few chats with him, but not about the Tigers. We just keep in touch," Ofahengaue said on Thursday.

"I think everyone in the NRL knows what Tevita can bring. The reason I loved playing with Tevita is he always showed a bit of hunger.

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"It kind of feeds off into other players. It definitely fed off into me when I was playing with him. He would always make these big, big runs and it would encourage me to do the same the next carry."

Ofahengaue won't need any extra motivation this weekend, however, such is his excitement to take on the club he represented 105 times across six seasons.

"Every time you play in the NRL, you have to play like you've got a point to prove. Coming up against some old teammates and some of the boys I'm really close with is going to be a bit different, but I just can’t wait to get there and compete against them," he said.

"Playing against boys I grew up with pretty much my whole career. I’ll be playing against Alex Glenn, one of my closest mates.

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"He taught me everything when I was at the Broncs, took me under his wing. Just to get the chance to compete against some of those boys, I've been really looking forward to it.

"It's going to be bittersweet for me. I return to Suncorp – I love playing in that arena. I think it's the best stadium in Australia, so it's going to be a bit of fun. I just want to win, man."

Despite being in 14th place on 12 points, the Tigers are only two wins outside the top eight and will currently play only three teams in the first half of the league in their remaining eight matches.

Ofahengaue believes moving to Queensland for a month, alongside the other NSW and ACT-based clubs, will unite the Tigers.

"I was really excited when I found out we were a chance of going away together for a few weeks," the front-rower said.

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"I think it's going to help every team, not just ours, get closer together. [You] hang around the player you probably don’t hang around as much at training. You can look at uit both ways, the positive and the negative, but I guess for us it's a positive thing."

And after three big defeats, the Tigers say they're recharged.

"We got away from footy for a week last week having the bye," hard-working middle forward Alex Twal said.

"The boys have just come back with a real positive mindset this week. Coming off a few heavy losses, obviously the theme was defence.

"That's been our main focus at the start of this week and will continue to be our focus for the rest of this week."


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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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