The Broncos match against Souths this Friday night is an important one for the Broncos for a number of reasons, but none as anticipated as the celebration of Petero Civoniceva’s 300th NRL outing.
But for an unfortunate departure due to the mechanisms of the salary cap, Pet has been a Broncos man through and through and it’s fitting that he is to finish his career with the famous club. No story about Petero is complete without making reference to his very public and painful departure from Brisbane but it’s worth noting, as the saying goes, that out of something bad, usually comes something good. I believe that was the case for Petero as it gave him a new challenge and I think a big part of the reason he has made it to 300.
Much is made about his resilience and the fact that he’s 36 and still playing and his physical attributes and natural toughness have allowed him to persevere. It’s worth noting, and has been spoken about by the likes of Wayne Bennett, that he was slow out of the blocks and there was a time when it did not look like he would ever be the player he became. To his credit, he battled on and learnt his craft and became a master.
I played a heck of a lot of Footy with big Petero and everything he appears to be in his public persona is true of him in his private life. He is a deeply respectful person and you will not find anyone with a bad word to say about him. Family is paramount to him, as is his sense of fairness. That gentle persona belies the fierce warrior like toughness he possesses, toughness which has carried him to the pinnacle of Rugby League.
His efforts in representative football are unmatched by any other forward in the history of the game and both the Broncos and Penrith were recipients of his unswerving efforts. He is also a great leader, albeit in a quiet unassuming way, preferring his actions to do the talking. The current group of young Broncos forwards would do well to bask in his experience whilst they can.
Of late it’s been obvious to me that Petero is preparing for life after footy and his role with the RLPA and think is an indication of his intention to remain a part of the game beyond his capacity as a player, something for which Rugby League can be grateful.
I have always loved Rugby League and have been eternally grateful for the opportunities the game afforded me and for those it continues to bestow on young men from all walks of life. It’s no secret though, the trials and tribulations the game has endured, plenty of which has been due to the behaviour of its stars.
When such events occur, it gives rise to knockers who publicly ponder why any parent worth their salt would allow their son to partake in such a “barbaric and uncouth” sport.
It is with reference to these occurrences where perhaps Petero deserves his greatest accolade.Whilst plenty of players have been guilty of inciting parents to not allow their kids to be part of our sport, Petero Civonceva has ALWAYS been part of the reasons that they would.
That will be his lasting legacy.