Tevita Pangai Jr’s ‘unfinished business’ claim draws surprise response from Broncos coach Kevin Walters

Brisbane coach Kevin Walters has left the door open for Tevita Pangai Jrr to return to the club after praising the attitude of the former Broncos powerhouse.

The 28-year-old was granted a released from Canterbury last year to focus on his professional boxing career but is eyeing an NRL comeback via the Queensland Cup, where he is playing for Souths-Logan Magpies.

The Magpies are a Broncos affiliate club and Pangai impressed in his first game for them a fortnight ago.

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Pangai, who played 96 of his 138 NRL games for Brisbane, told AAP this week that it was the only club he wanted to return to and ruled out reuniting with Wayne Bennett at the Dolphins.

“The Broncos are the right fit for me with where they are as a club. I feel as though I have unfinished business there,” Pangai said.

“I feel I can give my all to the Broncos if they are keen.”

When told of Pangai’s remarks, Walters was impressed.

“That is a great attitude to have from Tevita,” Walters said.

“If that does happen and he does get here then it will be good to see him playing some good footy.”

Broncos coach Kevin Walters (C) will keep a keen eye on former student Tevita Pangai Jr, as seen together here in 2020. Credit: AAP

Walters was the coach in 2021 when Pangai secured an early release to join Penrith in what was a difficult year for the player and the club.

A lot has happened since and Walters and the Broncos could elect to secure Pangai later in the season where he would not be such a burden on the salary cap.

“We don’t rule anything out,” Walters said when pressed on Pangai’s possible return.

“We are comfortable with our forward depth at the moment but who knows what happens in the future.

“I know Tevita is playing Queensland Cup. We are aware of that. We are just holding our cards at the moment.”

Pangai has got himself in great shape and weighs 114kg.

He is lighter and fitter than when he played for the Bulldogs due to running and gym work that he does for boxing, where he has a heavyweight fight on Saturday night in Ipswich against Raphael Sa’u.

The Tongan international still loves rugby league and regrets the comments he made before a boxing bout that he had lost interest in the game.

“I love the training of boxing and the responsibility. There are no excuses and you can’t blame anyone,’ Pangai said.

“I still love the sport of rugby league too. I want to make that clear.

“I have made some silly remarks in the past.

“Boxing is show business. I was always painted as a bad boy in the NRL and I was trying to sell the fight. People in rugby league love you or hate you and whether they pay to see you win or lose (at boxing) they are still paying.”

Pangai is thriving at the Magpies under coach, and former Bronco, Karmichael Hunt.

“Karmichael is great for me. He is honest and all about trying to get me back to the NRL,” Pangai said.

“I haven’t received any offers from the Broncos or anyone else. If they want to call my brother (Dave) and make an offer they can but right now I have a fight on Saturday night and that is my focus.”

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