Tevita Pangai Junior in massive Storm revelation as Cameron Smith meet emerges

The Melbourne Storm legend appears to have played his part.

Former Bulldogs forward Tevita Pangai Junior has signalled his intention to join the Melbourne Storm after admitting a chance meeting with club legend Cameron Smith persuaded him to make a call. Pangai Junior left the NRL community stunned when he walked out on his mega-Bulldogs contract early to leave around $750,000 behind on his final year.

The forward tried a foray into boxing, but after only two fights has pushed for a move back into the NRL. Pangai junior's final two years at the struggling Bulldogs were deemed underwhelming, despite earning a debut for the New South Wales Blues in State of Origin.

Cameron Smith during commentary and Tevita Pangai Junior during training.
Tevita Pangai Junior (pictured right) has signalled his intention to join the Melbourne Storm after a chance meeting with club legend Cameron Smith (pictured left). (Getty Images)

NRL clubs were interested in Pangai Junior's movements earlier this year when he was seen at a Brisbane Broncos training session. And while there was plenty of speculation he was keen to link-up with the Broncos, his attention has seemed to turn elsewhere.

After a shock meeting with Storm coach Craig Bellamy, Pangai Junior has claimed he would be keen to join the Melbourne system and join forces with the master coach. “If Craig Bellamy wants you, you sort of have to go,” SEN Radio. “Hopefully that does come to fruition, to be in a system like (the) Melbourne Storm.”

Tevita Pangai Junior during a game.
Tevita Pangai Junior (pictured) is eyeing a return to the NRL with the Melbourne Storm.

The former Bulldogs forward admitted the idea of joining the Storm wasn't on his radar, until he ran into NRL great Smith. The meeting with the former Melbourne captain at the netball prompted Pangai Junior to reach out to Storm coach Craig Bellamy in a bid to revitalise his NRL career at a place that might be able to get the best out of him.

“No disrespect to anyone on the bottom teams but if I go back to a bottom team then people will say I haven’t learnt my lesson,” Pangai Junior added. “I need to go to a team where it’s not about the money, it’s about the system and the coaches, and the players. I really enjoyed myself being back in Brisbane and my time away from the game, hopefully I can get the win this weekend and then plan to come back, go the long way and go through Q Cup or reserve grade.

“Wayne Bennett always told me that I was in control of my destiny, if I wanted to go back there (Brisbane) I probably could force my way in, go back through Souths Logan. It was funny because I actually seen Cameron Smith at the netball maybe a month ago and that gave me the idea to give Bellyache (Craig Bellamy) a cold call.”

Pangai Junior retired from the NRL nine months ago. His attempted foray back into the NRL came after eyebrows were raised when he quit his mega-contract to pursue boxing. After his announcement to leave, boxing great Jeff Fenech - speaking to Yahoo Sport Australia - warned Pangai Junior of the dedication needed to succeed in the sport. "He wouldn’t be doing this if he wasn't going to make money but to walk away from $750,000 a year and think he's going to dominate in boxing... it’s not going to automatically happen," Fenech said.

"If you're not hungry in my sport you're not going to do it for long because you're getting your head punched in. For me it didn't matter if I was playing marbles or boxing, I'm going to do it with the same intensity because I want to be the best. Whatever it took to be the best I would do. I hope Tevita has the same mindset because it’s a totally different thing when you're getting punched in the face every day."