Sport

Civoniceva impresses his coach in trial victory Warhorse still soldiering on

RUGBY LEAGUE: We know the indomitable Petero Civoniceva has the stamina of a Melbourne Cup horse, but now he is getting ridiculous.

After a 387-game top-flight career for club, state and country spanning 15 celebrated years, the new Redcliffe signing has not ruled out playing on after this season.

Civoniceva, who turns 37 in April, has been rejuvenated by an unusually long off-season break following his NRL retirement last season and is set to unleash the revered beast within when Redcliffe confronts Sunshine Coast tonight in a trial at Stockland Park, Bokarina.

Saying goodbye to a game that has ensured his immortality is hard to do, it would seem.

"I haven't really thought about that (retirement) yet," the ex-Bronco and Panther said.

"For me, I just enjoy football. I thought I'd go back and have some fun.

"No doubt it will be a tough and challenging year ahead."

Along with extending his career beyond this season, Civoniceva (pictured) has not dismissed talk that he will play for his birth country, Fiji, in this year's World Cup in England and Wales.

The thought of establishing a deeper link with Fiji, a country he left before his first birthday when his parents moved to Redcliffe, is a potent lure for the Queensland Origin great.

Civoniceva, who has played more Tests (45) for Australia and more Origin games (33) than any other forward, will wait and see how his body copes this season before committing to an on-field World Cup role with Fiji.

He would be eligible to represent the small Pacific island nation because by the time the World Cup starts, more than two years would have lapsed since he last played for Australia.

"I'll be part of their preparation. Whether it's on the field or off the field, I'm not sure yet," he said.

"For me it's an opportunity, I guess, to reconnect with my heritage.

"It's probably something, to be honest, I don't know a lot about, having grown up in Redcliffe and, you know, dreamed always of playing for the Kangaroos.

"It would be nice if the opportunity is there. I can try and give back something for the game."

Civoniceva's participation in tonight's match will undoubtedly prove a crowd magnet.

Dolphins coach John Dixon said his star forward was his usual effective self in the side's season-opening trial win over Wynnum Manly last weekend, despite having waited until last month to commence pre-season training.

Sunshine Coast Sea Eagles' squad for tonight's match: 1. Kyle Van Klaveren; 2. Dale Middleton; 3. Rowan Klein; 4. Jye Ballinger; 5. Tye Ingebrigsten; 6. Callum Klein; 7. Justin Otto; 8. Martin Cordwell; 9. Troy Mendham; 10. Ryan Hansen; 11. Kristian Wanka; 12. Sam Bernstrom; 13. Peter Gallen; 14. Jay Lobwein; 15. Jordan Meads; 16. Brenton Stonier; 17. Zac Litherland; 18. James Boyce; 19. Stephen Tunnicliffe; 20. Kevin McKenzie; 21. Mboya Adams.




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