There are reports by various News Ltd journalists suggesting that Tevita Pangai Jr will retire from Rugby League at seasons end to take up boxing, this dispute having a season remaining on his deal at the Bulldogs.
This feels like a very strange decision , and call me a cynic, but this feels like a very convenient way for the Bulldogs to clear salary cap space which they are desperate to do right now.
Tevita Pangai Jr is only 27 years old. His best years in Rugby League should be ahead of him.
Pangai Jr was highly rated when he first came into the NRL but being part of the Brisbane Broncos team that fell apart under the coaching of Anthony Seibold. Bad habits crept into his game and it led to him looking to leave the club midway through the 2021 season.
He chose to finish the 2021 NRL season with the Penrith Panthers, who simplified his game, helped him focus on the basics, and he looked really good. He played some of his best football in the short stint before picking up an injury towards the end of the season that robbed him of a place in the Panthers 2021 Grand Final winning side.
Pangai Jr then took up his contract at the Canterbury Bulldogs, and the environment of being at a struggling club once again has a really bad effect on his football. Mistakes, over playing his hand, and penalties crept back into his game, and now we are left with todays announcement.
I’d really love to see Tevita Pangai Jr go back to the Penrith Panthers and get into a good club environment again. I wouldn’t be shocked if that happened some time next year.
Boxing is an easy way for footy players to make a lot of money thanks to Australia’s celebrity boxing scene. It’s probably not the best use of Tevita Pangai Jr unquestionable talent though.