Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk
Tevita Pangai Jr has been on the verge of stardom for the majority of his career thus far, arguably having his most consistent season in 2021 despite time spent on the sidelines and a mid-season move.
He started the year well with the Broncos, but it seems that coach Kevin Walters had always intended to move Pangai Jr on as soon as he could, and that opportunity finally came in late July when the Tongan International moved to eventual premiers the Penrith Panthers, but would not play in the 2021 NRL Grand Final.
In 2022, Pangai Jr will play for his third club in less than a year, as the 26-year-old made his debut for the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs against the Cronulla Sutherland Sharks in the second week of the NRL trials.
Many described his performance as ill-disciplined as the forward was sent off in the first half, but Bulldogs legend and coaching staff member Willie Mason has recently spoken to Channel Nine’s The Mole and believes Pangai Jr will be able to remain disciplined in future after being taken under Mason’s wing.
MOLEY’s TUESDAY SCOOPS
*Big Willie takes bad boy on board
*Manly lose gun youngster
*young hooker coached by legend
*Broncos delighted with rookie signing https://t.co/TD5XFX7uDV pic.twitter.com/fnWCxr8eFG
— The Mole (@9_Moley) March 7, 2022
“He might have gone a little over the top but we can fix that and I’ve been talking to him about his game,” Mason said.
“I’m just trying to simplify his game. He doesn’t have to push the pass or throw flick passes or anything like that.
“The guy’s got speed, he’s got footwork. If you are trying to tackle him you would be petrified.”
Pangai is not the only new player at the Bulldogs trying to prove themselves, as his fellow forward Paul Vaughan has been given a lifeline by the club after being released by the Dragons in 2021 for an off-field incident.
Bulldogs captain Josh Jackson spoke to Christian Nicolussi of The Sydney Morning Herald about what Vaughan brings to the team this morning.
🤵♂️ Suited up for 2022. pic.twitter.com/bsWNiCQEBy
— Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs (@NRL_Bulldogs) March 8, 2022
“He’s [Vaughan’s] a competitor, he’s led the way, he’s taken a lot of pressure off me because he’s experienced, he speaks up in team chats and shares his experiences with the younger boys,” Jackson said.
The Bulldogs faithful will be hoping that it all comes together for these two players in 2022 so that they can perform to the best of their abilities and contribute to a much-improved side.