New Dolphins signing Tevita Pangai targets Storm clash

Joel Gould |

Tevita Pangai Jnr is within sight of his first NRL game for the Dolphins after getting over an injury that prevented him playing last week.

The 28-year-old Tonga international trained with the main group on Monday ahead of Friday night’s clash at Suncorp Stadium with competition leaders Melbourne.

Pangai strained his hamstring playing for Souths-Logan in the Queensland Cup on June 1. He has signed for the rest of the season under former coach Wayne Bennett and has a spring in his step after making good progress with his recovery.

“Hopefully Wayne picks me against the Storm on Friday. It will be a good test for me,” he said.

“It’s my left hamstring, I did it over in PNG. It’s feeling good and I’m just very excited.

“It was my first session with the team and it’s good to be around older heads like Kenny Bromwich and Jesse Bromwich as well – players that I loved to watch coming through the grades.

“When I started my journey in the NRL I used to watch them a lot. It’s crazy that I’m playing in the same team as them.”

Tevita Pangai Jnr.
Tevita Pangai Jnr enjoying his time in Tonga colours during the 2017 World Cup in New Zealand. (David Rowland/AAP PHOTOS)

If Pangai can show strong form he could secure a contract extension at the Dolphins next year and play under his Tonga coach Kristian Woolf.

There is also the possibility of following Bennett to South Sydney, but Pangai is focused on the short term.

“Like the great Billy Slater said, I’m just worried about where my feet are at the moment,” Pangai said.

“I’m just worried about today. When I look too far ahead that when I’ll run into a lot of drama. 

“I’m just worried about the Storm this week and we’ll see how we go after that. Obviously I play my best footy under Wayne, so we’ll see what happens.”

Pangai, who has 138 NRL games for the Broncos, Penrith and Canterbury under his belt, played his last NRL game in August last year for the Bulldogs before securing a release to focus on professional boxing.

He soon decided his future rested in rugby league.

“Obviously I took some time away from the game, did some boxing and that was fun, but Wayne just wanted to make sure that I was 100 per cent committed to playing under him and playing with the Dolphins,” he said.

“I can only show that through my performances, and hopefully this Friday I can put in a good performance.

“I’m just very thankful to the club for giving me this opportunity.”