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Civoniceva happy the rowing is over

By Steve Jancetic 27/10/2009 01:50:06 PM Comments (0)

He's probably done enough rowing kilometres to warrant selection, but don't hold your breath waiting for Kangaroos prop Petero Civoniceva to turn his hand to the Olympic sport.

"Definitely not. I don't see too many Fijian rowers," the Suva-born giant says.

The rowing machine was Civoniceva's only outlet for the final four months of the NRL season after he ripped the tendon off the bone in his foot during the first half of Queensland's Origin II win over NSW in late June.

His next hit-up was at The Stoop in London last Saturday night, where he faced the might of a New Zealand pack which was gunning for Australia's forward leader.

"When you've got someone like Fui (Fuifui Moimoi) coming at you, you definitely know you're back in the game," Civoniceva said.

"Not being able to run (during the layoff) I spent a lot of time on the rowers. I get sick every time I see a rowing machine.

"It was probably a month or two working on the rower and once I got the all clear to start running again I was relieved to get back to running."

It was a relief for Australian coach Tim Sheens too, with injury ruling Civoniceva's regular front row running mate Steve Price out of the tour.

With the three other specialist props in the 24-man squad yet to have played a Test when Australia left for the Four Nations, Civoniceva's experience was always going to be vital, as it will be when they take on England in Wigan on Saturday.

Again he will be looked upon to lead the young pack against a pair of old hard heads in Adrian Morley and Jamie Peacock, though like New Zealand, England will know if they cut off the head, the rest will crumble.

Civoniceva didn't disappoint in giving as good as he got against the Kiwis - even if he admits to losing the slanging match embarked upon by New Zealand youngster Jared Waerea-Hargreaves.

"I'm not smart enough to give it back," Civoniceva said.

"The only way for me is to concentrate on my game and take them on physically.

"Being a senior player in the game there's always young blokes there wanting to take you on. That's just what I have to go through every week."

And while the months off artificial rowing may have him sick of the sight of rowing machines, the hours of toil in the gym will have all been worth it if the Kangaroos make the Four Nations final.

If Australia qualify for the final - and Civoniceva plays against both England and France before then - he will have broken Johnny Raper's mark of 39 appearances for the most Test matches for an Australian forward.

"I'd love to be able to get that," Civoniceva said.

"I've always dreamed of wearing this jersey ... if I could do something like that it would be a big feather in the cap for me for sure."

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