Tonight my old mate Petero Civoniceva will play his final professional rugby league match in front of his adoring Broncos home crowd.
I had the pleasure of playing many years alongside ‘Bulla’ and there aren’t many tougher blokes I played with or against throughout my career.
Much has been said about Petero’s final season and the fact he was able to return to the club where he established himself as one of the game’s best props, but it is his selfless, caring nature off the field that define the committed family man.
As big a spectacle as the Broncos’ crunch match against Petero’s former club Penrith will be, I can guarantee the professionalism of the Broncos stalwart will have him focused solely on winning and helping his team into the finals.
Even though the Broncos are fielding one of their strongest teams this year, the underlying fact is, despite competing well against the competition’s top three teams, they have just been off the pace – causing frailty within their ranks.
Losing six matches in a row is not up to Broncos standard, but victory against the Panthers has the potential to instill some much-needed confidence into this young team – something they clearly didn’t lack at the beginning of the year.
Should the Broncos scrape into the finals, I have no doubt they can cause some headaches for the higher ranked teams. The way the finals are constructed this year certainly bodes well for the Broncos – who will play either 5th or 6th position as opposed to 1st or 2nd in week one.There would be no more deserving player to be sent out of the game with a premiership ring than Petero.