Rugby League star Petero Civoniceva seen here helping during the clean up after the Queensland floods.
Rugby League star Petero Civoniceva seen here helping during the clean up after the Queensland floods. David Nielsen

Big man to hang up boots

IT is hard to believe that Petero Civoniceva, the man who has played 45 Tests for Australia and 30 State of Origins for Queensland, once doubted his ability.

Civoniceva yesterday announced that his decorated career, which has seen him play 297 NRL games (225 for Brisbane), will finish at the end of this season.

Former Broncos teammate Shane Webcke said he believed self-doubt has actually helped the 36-year-old reach his dizzy heights as a footballer.

"If you ask him or (former Broncos coach) Wayne Bennett, there was a period when Petero didn't think he'd make it," Webcke said.

"I think he's held onto that for his whole career - he is mindful it might never have happened.

"He actually got better as he got older."

Webcke, who played 254 games for the Broncos and represented Queensland and Australia 21 and 20 times respectively, said the game had changed rapidly over the course of Civoniceva's 15-year first grade career, making the decision to retire the right one.

"He's got it spot on," Webcke said.

"Nowadays you've got guys like Paul Gallen and Dave Taylor who are bigger, stronger and fitter than our generation.

"But you could throw a blanket over all the best front rowers, and Petero's right in there.

"And he wasn't someone to stand over you at training either - he was very receptive to other ideas with that unassuming character of his."

It was that same modest nature that came to the fore when Civoniceva announced his decision to teammates.

"It was done pretty quickly and that's the way I wanted it," he said.

"I didn't want it to take up too much of the boys' time."

Civoniceva's last regular season game will be in round 26 against Penrith at Suncorp Stadium.

ON the same day Broncos players were told of Civoniceva's retirement, they were also told teammate Dane Gagai's time at the club was over.

News Ltd reported late yesterday that while his contract had not been torn up, the 21-year-old had been given permission to look elsewhere following a series of disciplinary breaches.

On March 20 the Broncos announced they had re-signed Gagai until the end of 2014.

FACT FILE:

  • Civoniceva was born in Suva.
  • He played 39 reserve grade games as a centre before making his debut for the Broncos in 1998.
  • He won the club's Rookie of the Year award in that year 1998 and came off the bench in the 38-12 grand final win against Canterbury
  • His 300th NRL game could come against Wayne Bennett's Newcastle in round 13


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