• Be cool and Register to set your username and display picture get the full features of the site. Talk Bulldogs NRL News, match reviews, live score, ladder, injuries, player signings and team performance.

News Sonny Bill and the 2004 premiership: Pangai jnr reveals why he chose the Bulldogs

Spoonman84

Super Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Oct 1, 2013
Messages
17,100
Reaction score
28,898
Inside a modest suburban home on Cressy Street in Canterbury, an eight-year-old Tevita Pangai jnr watched on with his family as the Bulldogs lifted the 2004 premiership.

“There were blue and white cars going off in the streets,” Pangai recalls.

“Houses were painted blue and white. It was crazy. The whole place was crazy. I still remember it was Sonny’s (Bill Williams) first year. As a young Polynesian kid having a blinder of a year, for me as a young kid to see that was something I aspired to be like.”

It was the last time Belmore celebrated a title. Seventeen years on Pangai is preparing to return to a success-starved community looking to put the bite back in the once proud club.

But the excitement of what lies ahead, a pit-stop at the high-flying Panthers before linking with the Bulldogs in the off-season, took a back seat as the realisation hit home on Wednesday.

With the ink still drying on his termination with the Broncos, Pangai picked up the phone and dialled his old coach last night.

Tevita Pangai Jr takes instructions from former coach Wayne Bennett during their time together at the Brisbane Broncos in 2018.

Tevita Pangai Jr takes instructions from former coach Wayne Bennett during their time together at the Brisbane Broncos in 2018. Getty Images
“I can’t believe it’s over,” Pangai told his mentor Wayne Bennett.

“I’m really disappointed. I came to Brisbane as a 19-year-old to play under Wayne. To leave now is really sad. I made my debut at this club. I’m really disappointed leaving the playing group. I’m going to miss them.

“I didn’t want to leave. I’m shattered I have to leave, but that’s footy. Sometimes you get the tap on the shoulder and you have to make way. They said it would be best for both parties. Ben Ikin (new Broncos general manager) is a nice fella. I got to know him for a few weeks.

“It was different not seeing him on my screen every night. Both him and Dave Donaghy have been great to me. I’m happy they get what they want and I get what I want, which is an opportunity to work with Gus and Trent in Sydney.”

Pangai, who personally phoned Bennett during his time at the Raiders to land a deal at the Broncos, has struggled to live up to the hype that was set during his time under the veteran coach.

While he admitted Bennett’s exit had a huge impact on his football, he refused to use it as an excuse for his inability to consistently perform at a high level under Anthony Seibold and Kevin Walters.

“It was such a hard time in 2018, knowing which side to take,” Pangai said about the in-fighting at Brisbane.

“Do you take the side of the CEO and what they’re trying to achieve? Or do you take the side of the best coach in the game and someone who I came to this club just to be coached by? It was sad the way it ended with Wayne.


“He’s one of the greatest coaches. He knew how to coach me. I wouldn’t say I’m different, but he knew how to get the best out of me. But at the end of the day it’s up to me to put in consistent performances. Payne Haas has had three different coaches, but his performances don’t waiver. That’s what great athletes do, when there’s adversity they can still play great footy.”

While his decision to join Canterbury on a three-year, $2.2 million deal from next season was made before Gould was appointed as the club’s new general manager, there’s no doubt Pangai believes ‘Gus’ and Trent Barrett can have a similar impact on his career.

“I love the roster they are building,” Pangai said of the Bulldogs.

“I’ve heard a lot about Trent and the way he sees the game. David Furner (Canterbury assistant coach) signed me when I was a young boy at Newcastle to go to the Raiders. Having him there looking after my defence and holding me accountable, then having Trent Barrett who is one of the greatest attacking minds in the game, it was an easy choice for me to go to the Dogs.

“Sonny is a good influence on me. In this time in my life I want to be around good people and strong-minded people.”

Tevita Pangai Junior on Sonny Bill Williams
“The attraction of working with Gus and him working his magic with the roster, I think it’s going to be back to being a strong club again. It’s a big club, and once big clubs get rolling they are hard to stop. With Gus back, there’s only good days ahead.”

One of the concerns clubs had about signing Pangai was a perception that his character was questionable.

It’s something the Wests Tigers tried to float when they originally pulled out of the race for his signature - before coming back to the table with $400,000 more than they were first willing to spend.

While Pangai had no bad words to say about the Tigers, he is already making plans to ensure he has a support network around him to transform into one of the game’s premier forwards when he arrives in Sydney in the off-season.

“I won’t live too far away from Sonny,” Pangai said.

“I will be making sure I’m living around good people. Sonny is a good influence on me. In this time in my life I want to be around good people and strong-minded people.”

As for the decision to turn down an offer from the Tigers?

“It’s nothing against the Tigers,” Pangai said.

“I just felt the roster the Bulldogs were building suited me. I’m sure the Tigers will build. They have a great coach in Michael Maguire that’s won a comp as a coach. Not many coaches can say they’ve gone to the big dance and won. I’m sure that they’ll find good players and build a good team.

“Michael Maguire and Adam Hartigan (Wests Tigers general manager) are good fellas. But at this time in my career I feel the Bulldogs are the best for me with their roster and coaching staff.”

Canterbury decided against signing Pangai for the rest of the year. It didn’t make much financial sense for the Bulldogs to waste salary cap space on a season that is already gone.

Given a fortnight earlier Penrith had decided against pursuing the 25-year-old in a cameo role for the remainder of the year, it seemed as though Pangai would finish the year at Brisbane.

Then on Wednesday, following the news of James Fisher-Harris’ return to Sydney to attend the birth of his child, the doors opened for Pangai.

“I thought it was all dead and buried,” Pangai said. “But I spoke to Ivan and Cameron Ciraldo and wanted to strike something. I told them I was willing to come. I know they have a strong team already. I’m glad I got the consent of the Broncos and Bulldogs. They’ve been helpful letting me go to a club like the Panthers. I think it will be a good for my development.”

Pangai will join the Panthers at their Sunshine Coast hotel on August 2 and play his first game for Penrith in that round against the Roosters, setting himself up with a chance to go from wooden spoon to a premiership. Some say he’s a risk to what the Panthers have built, but he insists Penrith aren’t taking a gamble on him.

“I don’t think it’s too much of a risk,” he said. “If it’s a small role off the bench or if it’s just helping out at training running shapes for the reserve grade team - I’m just happy to help out and learn, man.

“I want to learn off the great players they have like Nathan Cleary and the great coaches like Ciraldo and Ivan.”

 

B-Train

Previously btrainben
Joined
Mar 1, 2004
Messages
22,350
Reaction score
20,574
He spoke pretty well and openly. It's cool that he grew up in the area. Obviously a big salary is a huge part of the reason he signed.

But it's good to hear him talk about accountability and wanting to be a better and more consistent player. I think his attitude and effort is better than people give him credit for. It's just the suspensions he has to avoid..
 

Jai81

Kennel Regular
Joined
Jan 14, 2020
Messages
893
Reaction score
982
we should have signed him for the rest of the year, Its like the club has just given up and happy to get the spoon!
Thats the last thing any club should want, we have a good chance to beat the Tigers Twice and the Sharks which might get us off the bottom.
 

ddt192

Kennel Enthusiast
Joined
May 24, 2012
Messages
2,062
Reaction score
3,521
we should have signed him for the rest of the year, Its like the club has just given up and happy to get the spoon!
Thats the last thing any club should want, we have a good chance to beat the Tigers Twice and the Sharks which might get us off the bottom.
I reckon if we could keep our current form goin we could win all the rest of our games except against Womanly.
 

bradyk

Kennel Immortal
Premium Member
Fantasy Champion
Joined
Mar 24, 2019
Messages
9,652
Reaction score
9,518
we should have signed him for the rest of the year, Its like the club has just given up and happy to get the spoon!
Thats the last thing any club should want, we have a good chance to beat the Tigers Twice and the Sharks which might get us off the bottom.
The spoon sucks but at least we can front load some contracts and have more money in the salary cap to spend over the next couple of years.
 

KLil

Kennel Immortal
Joined
Aug 5, 2011
Messages
10,123
Reaction score
7,035
He spoke pretty well and openly. It's cool that he grew up in the area. Obviously a big salary is a huge part of the reason he signed.

But it's good to hear him talk about accountability and wanting to be a better and more consistent player. I think his attitude and effort is better than people give him credit for. It's just the suspensions he has to avoid..
Suspensions are an issue but u look at guys like Marty Taupau... Not long ago he was constantly on the sidelines for indiscretions but now he has cleaned his footy up and is a great role model... Point is players do mature.
 

KLil

Kennel Immortal
Joined
Aug 5, 2011
Messages
10,123
Reaction score
7,035
Inside a modest suburban home on Cressy Street in Canterbury, an eight-year-old Tevita Pangai jnr watched on with his family as the Bulldogs lifted the 2004 premiership.

“There were blue and white cars going off in the streets,” Pangai recalls.

“Houses were painted blue and white. It was crazy. The whole place was crazy. I still remember it was Sonny’s (Bill Williams) first year. As a young Polynesian kid having a blinder of a year, for me as a young kid to see that was something I aspired to be like.”

It was the last time Belmore celebrated a title. Seventeen years on Pangai is preparing to return to a success-starved community looking to put the bite back in the once proud club.

But the excitement of what lies ahead, a pit-stop at the high-flying Panthers before linking with the Bulldogs in the off-season, took a back seat as the realisation hit home on Wednesday.

With the ink still drying on his termination with the Broncos, Pangai picked up the phone and dialled his old coach last night.

Tevita Pangai Jr takes instructions from former coach Wayne Bennett during their time together at the Brisbane Broncos in 2018.

Tevita Pangai Jr takes instructions from former coach Wayne Bennett during their time together at the Brisbane Broncos in 2018. Getty Images
“I can’t believe it’s over,” Pangai told his mentor Wayne Bennett.

“I’m really disappointed. I came to Brisbane as a 19-year-old to play under Wayne. To leave now is really sad. I made my debut at this club. I’m really disappointed leaving the playing group. I’m going to miss them.

“I didn’t want to leave. I’m shattered I have to leave, but that’s footy. Sometimes you get the tap on the shoulder and you have to make way. They said it would be best for both parties. Ben Ikin (new Broncos general manager) is a nice fella. I got to know him for a few weeks.

“It was different not seeing him on my screen every night. Both him and Dave Donaghy have been great to me. I’m happy they get what they want and I get what I want, which is an opportunity to work with Gus and Trent in Sydney.”

Pangai, who personally phoned Bennett during his time at the Raiders to land a deal at the Broncos, has struggled to live up to the hype that was set during his time under the veteran coach.

While he admitted Bennett’s exit had a huge impact on his football, he refused to use it as an excuse for his inability to consistently perform at a high level under Anthony Seibold and Kevin Walters.

“It was such a hard time in 2018, knowing which side to take,” Pangai said about the in-fighting at Brisbane.

“Do you take the side of the CEO and what they’re trying to achieve? Or do you take the side of the best coach in the game and someone who I came to this club just to be coached by? It was sad the way it ended with Wayne.


“He’s one of the greatest coaches. He knew how to coach me. I wouldn’t say I’m different, but he knew how to get the best out of me. But at the end of the day it’s up to me to put in consistent performances. Payne Haas has had three different coaches, but his performances don’t waiver. That’s what great athletes do, when there’s adversity they can still play great footy.”

While his decision to join Canterbury on a three-year, $2.2 million deal from next season was made before Gould was appointed as the club’s new general manager, there’s no doubt Pangai believes ‘Gus’ and Trent Barrett can have a similar impact on his career.

“I love the roster they are building,” Pangai said of the Bulldogs.

“I’ve heard a lot about Trent and the way he sees the game. David Furner (Canterbury assistant coach) signed me when I was a young boy at Newcastle to go to the Raiders. Having him there looking after my defence and holding me accountable, then having Trent Barrett who is one of the greatest attacking minds in the game, it was an easy choice for me to go to the Dogs.

“Sonny is a good influence on me. In this time in my life I want to be around good people and strong-minded people.”

Tevita Pangai Junior on Sonny Bill Williams
“The attraction of working with Gus and him working his magic with the roster, I think it’s going to be back to being a strong club again. It’s a big club, and once big clubs get rolling they are hard to stop. With Gus back, there’s only good days ahead.”

One of the concerns clubs had about signing Pangai was a perception that his character was questionable.

It’s something the Wests Tigers tried to float when they originally pulled out of the race for his signature - before coming back to the table with $400,000 more than they were first willing to spend.

While Pangai had no bad words to say about the Tigers, he is already making plans to ensure he has a support network around him to transform into one of the game’s premier forwards when he arrives in Sydney in the off-season.

“I won’t live too far away from Sonny,” Pangai said.

“I will be making sure I’m living around good people. Sonny is a good influence on me. In this time in my life I want to be around good people and strong-minded people.”

As for the decision to turn down an offer from the Tigers?

“It’s nothing against the Tigers,” Pangai said.

“I just felt the roster the Bulldogs were building suited me. I’m sure the Tigers will build. They have a great coach in Michael Maguire that’s won a comp as a coach. Not many coaches can say they’ve gone to the big dance and won. I’m sure that they’ll find good players and build a good team.

“Michael Maguire and Adam Hartigan (Wests Tigers general manager) are good fellas. But at this time in my career I feel the Bulldogs are the best for me with their roster and coaching staff.”

Canterbury decided against signing Pangai for the rest of the year. It didn’t make much financial sense for the Bulldogs to waste salary cap space on a season that is already gone.

Given a fortnight earlier Penrith had decided against pursuing the 25-year-old in a cameo role for the remainder of the year, it seemed as though Pangai would finish the year at Brisbane.

Then on Wednesday, following the news of James Fisher-Harris’ return to Sydney to attend the birth of his child, the doors opened for Pangai.

“I thought it was all dead and buried,” Pangai said. “But I spoke to Ivan and Cameron Ciraldo and wanted to strike something. I told them I was willing to come. I know they have a strong team already. I’m glad I got the consent of the Broncos and Bulldogs. They’ve been helpful letting me go to a club like the Panthers. I think it will be a good for my development.”

Pangai will join the Panthers at their Sunshine Coast hotel on August 2 and play his first game for Penrith in that round against the Roosters, setting himself up with a chance to go from wooden spoon to a premiership. Some say he’s a risk to what the Panthers have built, but he insists Penrith aren’t taking a gamble on him.

“I don’t think it’s too much of a risk,” he said. “If it’s a small role off the bench or if it’s just helping out at training running shapes for the reserve grade team - I’m just happy to help out and learn, man.

“I want to learn off the great players they have like Nathan Cleary and the great coaches like Ciraldo and Ivan.”

So hold on is SBW around or not?
 

Cosmo24

Kennel Enthusiast
Joined
Jun 27, 2010
Messages
1,157
Reaction score
1,542
I don’t really remember listening to TPJ talk previously, but from that article he articulates his thoughts and speaks really well. Seems to know what he wants to bring to the club and what the club can do for him, other than just a nice pay packet.

So much positivity around the club now and from the media, it’s hard to keep up
 
Last edited:

Novdoggie

Kennel Enthusiast
Joined
Aug 19, 2016
Messages
2,687
Reaction score
3,187
Can't wait to get the car horns going and painting the city blue and white again. Welcome TPJ.

After a couple false starts, for the first time in six years I can honestly see we are now REALLY turning the corner and seeing the light. The pain of these past few years and most likely a wooden spoon this year will only make our future successes even more rewarding and there's nothing more prouder in sport than saying we went through such lows and came out the other end still supporting THE BULLDOGS!!!
 

Powerslide

Kennel Enthusiast
Joined
Feb 8, 2013
Messages
1,249
Reaction score
871
So hold on is SBW around or not?
yeah I don't know lots of mentions of Sonny and Sonny Bill. Where apparently he is going to have Sonny mentoring him, he credits Sonny with getting him to get his act together a couple of months ago.

I am not sure that Sonny is back with the Dogs but he is around and mentoring him, and has a little history with the Dogs and Sonny Bill. Obvioulsy Sonny Bill didn't say the Dogs would be a bad fit and he should go to Tigers... but maybe Baz was seen as more of a nurturing coach than Madge. similar to a Bennett while Madge is more like what he has now.

I'm sure the roster additions for next year didn't hurt either...
 

2144superman

Kennel Immortal
Joined
Aug 28, 2010
Messages
5,544
Reaction score
6,387
So hold on is SBW around or not?
SBW has been mentoring TPJ ever since he had that last indiscretion at the Broncos and was nearly sacked.
SBW reached out to him and has been a mentor to him. They speak 24/7 but when both in the same state they catch up / hang out and TPJ has been known to come and spend time staying at SBW’s house. He has wanted to move to Sydney and as the article states will reside close by SBW in Sydney.
 

Burt Matton

Kennel Regular
Joined
Feb 15, 2021
Messages
103
Reaction score
271
SBW has been mentoring TPJ ever since he had that last indiscretion at the Broncos and was nearly sacked.
SBW reached out to him and has been a mentor to him. They speak 24/7 but when both in the same state they catch up / hang out and TPJ has been known to come and spend time staying at SBW’s house. He has wanted to move to Sydney and as the article states will reside close by SBW in Sydney.
That Sonny bloke is a real decent guy.
 

c-b-b

Super Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Premium Member
Gilded
Joined
Apr 23, 2014
Messages
6,630
Reaction score
9,638
A really good article and a decent person by the sounds.

Spoke positively about his former club and coaches, the other offer he got and his new club.

Showed far more class than the tigers who tried to tarnish his character rather than admit they pulled out of signing him at the time.
 

Moedogg

Kennel Immortal
Joined
Apr 6, 2012
Messages
8,210
Reaction score
9,016
I swear if Roosters didn't have Crichton, Radley and Tupouniua, Sonny would be directing him to the Roosters. We only got him because our only competition were the perennial underachievers, "the 12th on the ladder postion specialists" , "There's always next year team"..... THE TIGPIES!

Nice try SBW, Thanks but get fucked...
 

Como Dog

Kennel Enthusiast
Joined
Apr 21, 2017
Messages
1,909
Reaction score
1,916
we should have signed him for the rest of the year, Its like the club has just given up and happy to get the spoon!
Thats the last thing any club should want, we have a good chance to beat the Tigers Twice and the Sharks which might get us off the bottom.
So long as we're front loading to help the next few years then I'm okay with that. Better be worth it though, after we've effectively helped out Penrith when they weren't willing to do the same for us early in the year.
 

Como Dog

Kennel Enthusiast
Joined
Apr 21, 2017
Messages
1,909
Reaction score
1,916
Can't wait to get the car horns going and painting the city blue and white again. Welcome TPJ.

After a couple false starts, for the first time in six years I can honestly see we are now REALLY turning the corner and seeing the light. The pain of these past few years and most likely a wooden spoon this year will only make our future successes even more rewarding and there's nothing more prouder in sport than saying we went through such lows and came out the other end still supporting THE BULLDOGS!!!
One of my favourite times is grand final week with the dogs. Bulldogs flags go on the car windows and flags, posters streamers appear at the front of the house, much to the annoyance of my wife and 80% of Como ... actually know at least 6 supporters who live within 2-3 minutes walk :D
 
Top