When you have a consistency record like Broncos prop Petero Civoniceva, you would think that he would be an immediate selection in the pipe-line – but for Petero himself, he has said that he has no desire to be picked as a gesture of goodwill, but rather, he wants it to be on the back of his form.
With Petero now at the age of 36, but with plenty of juice left in the tank – if Petero was to play Origin this year, he would surpass Allan Langer as the oldest player to have ever played in an Origin game.
“Mal rang me last week,” Civoniceva said yesterday.
“He wanted to see what I was thinking in terms of rep footy. I acknowledged I’d had a slow start to the season, but that my form and confidence were definitely starting to pick up. I told him I was up for it, for sure.
“If I’m fit and firing, and they want to pick me, then I would love to play. But I was adamant to Mal that I didn’t want to be picked on past performances. I don’t want to be included on sentiment. We’ve got a lot of good props, and we need to put our best team out there.”
Civoniceva is no stranger to telling coaches how he feels about playing representative footy, with Petero telling Australian coach Tim Sheens in 2010, that he thought he did not deserve to be selected, so Sheens left him out of the side.
With both Meninga and QLD Chairman of selectors Des Morris keen on having Petero in the side, they say that his missing out on selection for Australia, will have no bearing on the decision that they make.
One thing that may be hampering Petero however, although now fully healed, was a pectoral injury sustained at the end of 2011, that limited his movement and mobility, as well as causing disruption in his pre-season training schedule for this season.
“I had to wear a sling for a couple of months,” Civoniceva said.
“It’s an injury that can really affect your confidence, because it’s in an area where you make a heap of contact in games. It knocked me around more than I thought it would.
“First, you’ve got to get the strength back in it, and then you’ve got to get used to the heavy contact again. I was wearing a guard for the first month of the competition, but I’m playing without that now. I’m getting back to where I know I can be.”
Once Petero returned, and felt comfortable playing football, he threw his hat into the Origin arena once more – and although he is uncertain as to whether he will play on at club level, the QLD legend has said that this will definitely be his last year playing representative football.
If he is selected, and becomes the oldest Origin player ever, Civoniceva will be pleased with that achievement.
“I would be proud to be the oldest. I was stoked just to play one Origin. When I got picked it was the best thing that had happened to me in football.”