Civoniceva ready to be top dog again - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Civoniceva ready to be top dog again

Steve Jancetic 04/05/2011 05:25:15 PM Comments (0)

After selflessly forfeiting his Test jumper last year, veteran prop Petero Civoniceva is determined to re-establish himself as Australia's forward leader.

For years the first forward picked when Kangaroo selectors picked their sides, Civoniceva gave himself the tap on the shoulder during the 2010 Four Nations tournament when he stood himself down for the final.

The 34-year-old was adamant coach Tim Sheens would be better off going with fresher legs, though his act might have backfired with the Kangaroos clearly missing his on-field presence as the Kiwis snatched a dramatic last-minute win.

Now back in Australia's starting line-up against New Zealand at Skilled Park on Friday night, for what will be his 45th appearance in the green and gold, Civoniceva said he was ready to once again lead from the front.

"As the most senior member of the forward pack, I've got a huge responsibility to the team," Civoniceva said.

"Myself and Paul Gallen (have the responsibility) in terms of leadership and leading this team up against a very tough Kiwi outfit.

"For me, (last year) was about getting away and enjoying the pre-season and just having a rest and getting refocused.

"I've done that and, thankfully, the form's been good enough to get back in here again.

"I feel the energy's back ... I felt a bit down last year and wasn't playing the football that I know I'm capable of and there were guys there that deserved to be in that final ahead of me."

While he returned in 2011 determined to regain his Test jumper, Civoniceva also learned some valuable lessons during his gradual deterioration over the course of last season.

The first was the realisation he could not go on forever and the other was acknowledging he would have to change his approach to training if he was to extend his NRL and representative career.

"We'd all like to think we're 21 and we can all run around the young blokes," Civoniceva said.

"... Knowing that I want to always be at my best when I walk onto that field, it's probably just being smart in the way I train."

He said he would put his hand up for another Origin series for Queensland and the end-of-season Four Nations campaign in the UK.

Beyond that, he'll reassess his future over the off-season, but either way, he feels the Australian engine room is in safe hands, as he's anointed Matt Scott as his successor as the Kangaroos' forward leader.

"Most definitely - you don't get any tougher customer than Matt Scott," Civoniceva said.

"He's just got an amazing workrate for a big man and he's so durable - he's got a very long career in front of him leading this Test team."

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