Rep footy still appeals to Civoniceva - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Rep footy still appeals to Civoniceva

By Steve Jancetic 27/01/2009 05:46:02 PM Comments (0)

Petero Civoniceva may well end up being buried clutching his Queensland and Australian jumpers, because there appears little chance of the veteran prop simply giving them up.

On the eve of his 12th season and NRL football and on the back of one of the more arduous campaigns of his career, Civoniceva on Tuesday said the desire to put his body through the rigours of rep football was still strong.

"I'm still very passionate about playing rep footy - we've got an opportunity in State of Origin to create a bit of history there to go four in a row and although it was a disappointing end to the World Cup, I love pulling that green and gold jersey on," Civoniceva said.

"I'd like to think there's a few more years yet, I'm not going to put a number on it, I think it's one of those things that's a year to year proposition for me but I feel really good."

Penrith coach Matthew Elliott knows Civoniceva would probably feel really good for a lot longer if he gave the rep stuff away.

Last year the 32-year-old's season opened with trial matches in February and closed with Australia's upset loss to New Zealand in November's World Cup final.

Another long year is in the offing in 2009 with Australia to contest a quad series in the northern hemisphere at the end of the NRL season, a tournament which is again likely to go deep into November.

But Elliott said he wouldn't dream of asking his forward leader to stand down from Queensland and Test duty, the Panthers mentor instead looking to himself to be more creative in his use of the veteran prop.

"I think (rep footy) becomes a huge component of not only his performance but how he rubs off on the players around him at the club," Elliott said.

"I think it's important that we encourage him to do that not discourage him.

"I think the State of Origin series for everyone involved with it last year was as intense an Origin series as I'd seen for a fair bit ... the energy that it took out of the players was noticeable.

"Petero still came back and played really good football but he wasn't as damaging as he perhaps was before that period.

"Some of that's my responsibility, I need to manage him better through that period, I probably over-exposed him to training and football as well."

Civoniceva will resume training next week, with Elliott to leave a decision on his availability for either of the Panthers two trial matches up to him.

"For a guy that's played the amount of first grade football at the level he's played I've got to be guided by how he's feeling about it," Elliott said.

"He certainly won't be playing a lot of trial football that's for sure."

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