Willie Mason under the pump, says Petro - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Willie Mason under the pump, says Petro

By Wayne Heming 01/07/2008 07:33:08 PM Comments (0)

If there is one certainty about Wednesday night's State of Origin it's that big-hearted prop Petero Civoniceva will give Queensland every last breath in his body.

The Fijian-born Civoniceva will play his 23rd Origin and his 18th straight, since being part of Wayne Bennett's 2001 rookies who rescued the interstate series after fears the concept was dead and buried.

Civoniceva made his Origin debut alongside a band of Queensland rookies and finished it with Bennett's greatest masterstroke in the decider when he brought champion halfback Allan Langer back from England to orchestrate a 40-14 third game series deciding victory.

Over eight years of Origins, he's taken the knocks and handed them out in equal measure but he still feels privileged every time he pulls on the maroon jumper.

"I just remember what a huge part of growing up it was, watching Origin and of always dreaming of one day being there," Civoniceva said on the eve of the 2008 series decider.

"When I was working through the grades it was always something I aspired to, but you always wonder whether you're good enough to make it."

Queensland owe Civoniceva's neighbours in Redcliffe a great debt for taking him to Origin games when he was a youngster playing rugby union and league.

"I used to go to Lang Park with my schoolboy pass and I was lucky there was a family who lived next door that always used to take me and mum and dad let me go with them," he recalled.

"I'll never forget my first Origin game sitting on the terraces.

"I was lucky enough to play my first Origin at the last game at Lang Park before they redeveloped it in 2001.

"There was a stack of us on debut, myself, Lote (Tuqiri), Dane Carlaw, Brad Meyers.

"We'd been beaten pretty convincingly in 2000 and Bennett blooded a whole heap of young guys and I was fortunate enough to be picked.

"I remember running out onto the field and thinking how a few years earlier I was sitting on that terrace as a kid looking up to my idols and now it was my turn to wear the Origin jersey.

"Over the years we've been able to build a tight knit group with that never say die attitude who really care about each other.

"We've been fortunate to win two on the trot and have a chance of a third series."

Civoniceva said he can remember getting lined up a few times in his Origin debut and thinking how awesome it was just to be playing alongside Gorden Tallis and Shane Webcke.

"My first series was when Alfie, who I'd grown up idolising, came back, and there I was playing beside him in a series decider."

Civoniceva said he was expecting to cop some more huge hits on Wednesday night - especially if Willie Mason started the game at prop.

Mason has been quiet this series and Civoniceva says that could spell trouble for Queensland.

"They obviously want their main man to fire up their pack and get them going forward and along with Brett White," said Civoniceva.

"I know me and Pricey (Steve Price) are looking forward to the battle."

Civoniceva said Mason had talked it up in previous Origins and now it was time for him to stand up.

"He's copped a fair bit of criticism but he's the type of guy that always says things," said Civoniceva.

"He's under the pump but I know the bloke that Willie is and he's certainly going to be fired up for the game tomorrow night."

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2022 AAP

0 Comments about this article

Post a comment about this article

Please sign in to leave a comment.
Becoming a member is free and easy, sign up here.

« All sports news