Infotainment Factory: Revealed: Pangai Jnr’s Origin decision made

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Monday, 25 March 2019

Revealed: Pangai Jnr’s Origin decision made


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FOR THE FULL SEGMENT TUNE INTO 100% FOOTY AT 10PM on Channel 9.

It’s a “sealed deal” that Broncos powerhouse Tevita Pangai Junior will play for Brad Fittler’s NSW Blues come State of Origin, says veteran rugby league reporter Danny Weidler.

The Brisbane prodigy again set tongues wagging over his Origin eligibility following a “monstrous” performance in the QLD derby on Friday night that was punctuated by an unrivalled physicality at Suncorp Stadium.

Finishing with a try to his name, the 23-year-old was non-committal as he fielded questions surrounding his representative loyalties, with his mixed Tongan-Australian heritage to consider, but speaking on Nine’s 100% Footy Weidler was adamant a decision had been made.

“Tevita Pangai Junior has told Brad Fittler he wants to play for NSW, simple as that,” Weidler told 100% Footy.

Tevita Pangai Junior

“I spoke to Freddy today and he’s said that he’s going to reaffirm that with him but as of late last year there was no question that’s what he wants to do this year.

“In that case it’s a sealed deal for this year that he wants to be a Blue which is great news for NSW, not so good for QLD.

The primary concern for the prop was the potential of facing ineligibility to represent Tonga at national level if he was pulled into the Kangaroos’ ranks having put his hand up for Origin.

However, considering Tonga’s listing as a Tier 2 rugby league nation, Weidler insisted Australian coach Mal Meninga didn’t have the right to pull him into the Kangaroos squad.

Tevita Pangai Junior powers past the Cowboys

“I can tell you he is eligible [for Origin] and because he’s a Tier 2 player I don’t think Meninga has got a right to try and get him to play for Australia,” he said.

Under the framework Pangai would presumably commit to Fittler’s Blues for all three games of State of Origin, meaning he’d miss Tonga’s clash with Samoa which falls on Game Two, but would still be eligible to play for the island nation at the end of the NRL season.

Panthers supremo Phil Gould took aim at the league’s management and questioned why the code’s scheduling forced players into such political predicaments.

“The game shouldn’t put players in that position,” he said.

“Why are we scheduling the rep round on the same weekend as a State of Origin game.”

FOR THE FULL SEGMENT TUNE INTO 100% FOOTY AT 10PM on Channel 9.

It’s a “sealed deal” that Broncos powerhouse Tevita Pangai Junior will play for Brad Fittler’s NSW Blues come State of Origin, says veteran rugby league reporter Danny Weidler.

The Brisbane prodigy again set tongues wagging over his Origin eligibility following a “monstrous” performance in the QLD derby on Friday night that was punctuated by an unrivalled physicality at Suncorp Stadium.

Finishing with a try to his name, the 23-year-old was non-committal as he fielded questions surrounding his representative loyalties, with his mixed Tongan-Australian heritage to consider, but speaking on Nine’s 100% Footy Weidler was adamant a decision had been made.

“Tevita Pangai Junior has told Brad Fittler he wants to play for NSW, simple as that,” Weidler told 100% Footy.

Tevita Pangai Junior

“I spoke to Freddy today and he’s said that he’s going to reaffirm that with him but as of late last year there was no question that’s what he wants to do this year.

“In that case it’s a sealed deal for this year that he wants to be a Blue which is great news for NSW, not so good for QLD.

The primary concern for the prop was the potential of facing ineligibility to represent Tonga at national level if he was pulled into the Kangaroos’ ranks having put his hand up for Origin.

However, considering Tonga’s listing as a Tier 2 rugby league nation, Weidler insisted Australian coach Mal Meninga didn’t have the right to pull him into the Kangaroos squad.

Tevita Pangai Junior powers past the Cowboys

“I can tell you he is eligible [for Origin] and because he’s a Tier 2 player I don’t think Meninga has got a right to try and get him to play for Australia,” he said.

Under the framework Pangai would presumably commit to Fittler’s Blues for all three games of State of Origin, meaning he’d miss Tonga’s clash with Samoa which falls on Game Two, but would still be eligible to play for the island nation at the end of the NRL season.

Panthers supremo Phil Gould took aim at the league’s management and questioned why the code’s scheduling forced players into such political predicaments.

“The game shouldn’t put players in that position,” he said.

“Why are we scheduling the rep round on the same weekend as a State of Origin game.”

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