Players of Interest – Tevita Pangai Jr

So full disclosure, I’m only writing about Tevita Pangai Junior (TPJ) (FRF/2RF, $495,000) because we had a Twitter poll, and he won. Not because I don’t like TPJ. Far from it. He’s my unabashed man-crush and I’ve been waiting to pick him in my SuperCoach team since the first time I saw him play (which I eventually did from Round 1 last year). It’s more a case of, “why wouldn’t you?” and he’s already in around 47% of teams. However, that’s about 53% of you who are clueless, then!

Recent Statistics: 

2018: Games played: 21, MPG: 50.3, PPM: 1.11, Average: 52.9

2017:  Games played: 17, MPG: 26.3, PPM: 1.42, Average: 38.1

(N.B. 2018 featured multiple games with stints on the edge – usually resulting in a lower PPM, whereas 2017’s games were all in the middle)

Check out our other pre-season content below:

2019 Players of Interest: Read all of these here

2019 SuperCoach Club Previews: Read all of these here

TPJ is a beast of a human. As a comparison, Jason Taumalolo is 191 cm tall and 117 kg. TPJ is 190 cm tall and 113 kg (but three years younger!). TPJ has the physical ability and talent to be spoken of in the same category as the premium forwards in the game like Taumalolo – he just needs to stay healthy.

He takes big, powerful runs like Taumalolo. He busts tackles like Taumalolo. He carries opposition defenders like Taumalolo. He’s, at this stage, not as sturdy and dependable as Taumalolo, but what he does have over Lolo is his skill – TPJ has one heck of an offload and also possesses skill and awareness that is far above plenty of forwards in the NRL, let alone a forward of his age.

He studies the game as hard as anybody, and you can see the fruit of that study starting to show in his on-field performances. TPJ is also needed by the Broncos to be a leader of that young pack, and as the second most experienced of the ‘young brigade’ but arguably the most influential, he will be important.

Spending the early part of last season playing lower minutes before building to bigger minutes in the middle of the park (whether at prop or lock, it doesn’t matter for TPJ), he was given an opportunity to demonstrate his impressive work rate, as he showed his willingness to do the grunt work. He was also given opportunities on the edge where his attacking prowess shone through. This had the dual benefit of giving him more time on the ground, whether through covering for injuries in the middle or edge, or starting and playing the full game on the edge, or simply rotating through both positions throughout the game. Unfortunately, this didn’t always translate into great points, as TPJ was quite fragile in terms of injury and was wrapped in cotton wool by Bennett. More TPJ on the field is a win for everyone, and especially if we get to see him involved in more of the attack given Seibold’s track record so far.

What may actually benefit TPJ in 2019 is having a steady, dependable role in the middle (as basically confirmed by Anthony Seibold) where, as the starter, I’m expecting him to play – at the very least – 50 MPG but more likely than not, closer to 60 or even 65 MPG (depends on his health/fitness) given the Broncos’ losing McGuire (65+ MPG), Sims (40 MPG) and Thaiday (40 MPG). That’s all TPJ needs, and at the very, very bare FRF position, I expect him to be a good shot at being a top three FRF this season, competing with the likes of Fifita and Taupau.

The dual position status is the cherry on top of the ice cream sundae that is TPJ in 2019.

Check out the rest of our Players of Interest articles below: 

Greg Inglis

Jahrome Hughes

Clint Gutherson

Brett Morris

Kurt Mann

Michael Morgan

Matt Moylan

Esan Marsters

Josh Mansour

Daniel Alvaro

Alex Twal

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Catfish (Wilfred Zee) won the competition outright in 2016 and now writes weekly pieces for the Daily Telegraph.

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DCE2011 (@dce2011)
1 year ago

Sounds like a dream selection, Catfish. Hopefully his hamstrings stay strong. Like many, I’ll be taking the plunge.

SupercoachGodsBeNice (@supercoachgodsbenice)
1 year ago

Has never left my side

Keen to see him take another step up this year

BT (@bt)
1 year ago

Thanks Catfish. Might end up coming down to Lane or TPJ for me. TPJ looking more like the known quantity though at this stage. Already have Haas – do we think he’s a worthy pick alongside TPJ?

Damien Cooked
Damien Cooked (@damienc00ked)
Reply to  BT
1 year ago

i think its a great hedge. tpj goes down with injury you have a ready made guy to slot in for a week or two whos minutes should increase because of it

Guns-NRookies (@guns-nrookies)
1 year ago

Great write up Catfish.

TPJ is a weapon that was restrained by Wayne. Hopefully Seibold unleashes the beast & his hammy’s can keep up.

Sirlee Oldman
Sirlee Oldman (@sirlee-oldman)
1 year ago

I believe in the off season he spent time in America working specifically on strengthening his hamstrings.
Great write up mate.

Justin (@jt-2)
1 year ago

A long, long way to go before he can even be considered in the same breath as my own personal man-crush Taumalolo (try ‘running, carrying defenders and busting tackles like Lolo’ for 17+ hitups a game, in the middle of the field, for 8+ years first 😉 ) but have to admit, it’s going to be a hell of a lot easier not to be deathriding this freak every game like I was last year. Welcome aboard TPJ!

OnTheBus (@samardo)
1 year ago

Nice write up CF, I’m going one further and sticking my neck out here but top scoring player for the season Imo. 1700 from 22 games 🙂

OnTheBus (@samardo)
Reply to  Catfish
1 year ago

1.3ppm @ 60mpg , Il give him 2 games off , one for SOO and a rest lol .

AJW (@ajw)
1 year ago

What we’ve all been waiting to hear! To reassure us that what the little voice at the back of our minds has been telling us, is right. Well if 47% have him, then he’s gotta remain! Rain hail or shine, we’ll sink or swim together! Thanks mate! Very sensible write up. 🙂

Damien Cooked
Damien Cooked (@damienc00ked)
1 year ago

im toying with the idea of going with an Alvaro type instead. could get ahead of 50% of the pack and downgrade to TPJ round 3 if he lives upto the hype. Dont get me wrong he is a gun but there are still at lot of ??? with the pack. Had him all last year and the injuries were hard to deal with

LOTE (@oscar-stgeorge)
Reply to  Damien Cooked
1 year ago

Yep the hype around him is the exact same as last year. Great deathride candidate with the ownership.

OnTheBus (@samardo)
Reply to  LOTE
1 year ago

Those stats were
85 points 32 mins at 2.7ppm hahahha
Deathriders were out in force that game

OnTheBus (@samardo)
Reply to  Damien Cooked
1 year ago

It was hard to watch , especially the game he came out and scored 80+ in the first 20 and got hooked. I want no part of those death riders that killed his chance of a 150 :/

LOTE (@oscar-stgeorge)
Reply to  OnTheBus
1 year ago

Yep Bennett loved us too much to suffer.

Bethany_B (@bethany_b)
Reply to  OnTheBus
1 year ago

Will Seibold do that to him though?

Flasher (@the-flasher)
1 year ago

Get. Him. In.

First player picked. Won’t be leaving. Cheap. Weapon. The only possible down side would be injury. He is worth the risk. The guy is made for SC.

Nice write up CF.

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