Eyeing a return? Retired NRL star who walked away from $750k deal spotted at Broncos training

Retired NRL star Tevita Pangai Jr has been spotted at Brisbane Broncos training fuelling speculation he could be eyeing a return to rugby league.

Pangai Jr stunned the NRL in August when he made the stunning decision to walk out on his contract with the Bulldogs to pursue a boxing career.

It was reported he walked away from a $750,000 a season deal.

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On Wednesday he was photographed as Kevin Walters’ side trained at their Red Hill base.

According to the Courier Mail, Pangai Jr refused to be interviewed but insisted he was simply there with family and friends to introduce them to Broncos players.

The 27-year-old played 96 games for the Broncos before being released by the club. He won a premiership with the Panthers during a brief stint at the club before joining the Bulldogs in 2022.

10/1/2024: Tevita Pangai Jr watches pre season Broncos training at Red Hill, Brisbane. pic: Lyndon Mechielsen/Courier MailSource: News Corp Australia


New Dolphins recruit Thomas Flegler has made it clear he’s moved on from the Brisbane Broncos declaring he “doesn’t care” who replaces him in Kevin Walters’ pack.

Wayne Bennett landed the Origin forward in what was a major coup for the NRL’s 17th team.

His departure from Red Hill has left a big hole in the Broncos pack which helped propel the side to the 2023 Grand Final.

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Asked on Tuesday who should step up to replace him, Flegler bristled.

“I don’t really care,” he said.

“It’s not really my problem, to be honest. I don’t really care what happens there.”

The 24-year-old was then asked how he will fare without Payne Haas and Patrick Carrigan alongside him.

“I’m not too sure yet. I haven’t played without them,” he said.

“When round one comes and I’ve played a game I will let you know.”

Flegler did, however, open up on how Bennett lured him to the Dolphins.

“Wayne is pretty blunt. He just said ‘Tom, we want you’.”

“We had a few little chats, but we only spoke literally twice and with a resume like that, he doesn’t need to say too much to get people over the line.

“His resume speaks for itself and he is probably the greatest coach in the game.

“To be able to come here and get a year under him and learn off him for a year was outstanding for me, and hopefully I can learn a few things off him and take them into the coming years.”

Broncos reveal shock role for Cobbo | 02:06


Broncos coach Kevin Walters has revealed Selwyn Cobbo will make a shock positional shift from the wing to the centres to replace the departed Herbie Farnworth.

Cobbo has played most of his three NRL seasons to date on the wing for the Red Hill club, bagging 37 tries in 49 games and cementing himself in the Queensland and Australian representative teams.

But Herbie Farnworth’s defection to the Dolphins — alongside teammate Tom Flegler — has left a gap at left centre.

And Walters revealed today that Cobbo will be given first crack at that position, ahead of 20-year-old rising star Deine Mariner.

“That’s the plan, to move him into that role. It’s probably a bit more natural for him in the centres than the wing,” Walters said.

“So far he’s been really good there, I guess we’ll find out more when we start playing, and he starts having to make more tackles and do all those things the great centres do.

“He’s still only young Selwyn, he’s still maturing, but his fitness levels and strength will get better as the year goes on.

“His footy IQ is very good, he’s a very intelligent player, which you need to be playing those centre roles — particularly defensively I feel, and that’s where he’s going to be a good asset for us with the way he reads the attack.”

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He added: “We’ve got some good options there. Part of this time of the year is to have players in training situations to see how they handle that.

“Deine’s obviously a good young player, it’s just a matter of finding the right position for him.”

Mariner made four appearances last season on the wing, bagging five tries and three assists along the way.

But he’ll now have to battle veteran Corey Oates for Cobbo’s vacant right-wing spot, with Jesse Arthars likely to start on the other flank after nine tries in 20 games last season.

Corey Oates had a tough run with injuries and fell out of favour last season, even being sensationally dropped ahead of Brisbane’s qualifying final.

There was talk he could depart Red Hill for a rival club, but the 29-year-old re-signed on a one-year deal in November — and reportedly took a pay cut to stay.


While the Broncos are dealing with the exit of Herbie Farnworth and Tom Flegler, there could be some good roster news on its way.

Coach Kevin Walters revealed he is “very confident” that star five-eighth Ezra Mam will re-sign with the club soon.

Mam debunked the ‘second year syndrome’ myth in 2023 to play a key role in the Broncos reaching the grand final. He was named Dally M Five-eighth of the Year and and received interest from a reported six rival clubs

But the 20-year-old, who became a free agent in November due to his contract being set to expire at the end of the 2024 season, declared he wants to remain at the Broncos.

It’s taken more than three months to get a contract signed but Walters indicated that it won’t take much longer.

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“I believe it’s getting very close but it’s up to the powers that be to get together. I’m sure it’ll happen, it’s just a matter of when,” he said.

“I’m very confident he’ll stay. He loves the place and we love him here. We’re also working hard to get the right deal for Ezra where he’s comfortable, which I’m sure we can do.”

According to reports, the deal will likely be worth $3 million over four years.

Source website: www.foxsports.com.au

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