Devastating force lifts Broncos bid
JOE Ofahengaue is the Broncos under 20s metre eater who will be leading the charge against the Warriors in tomorrow's Holden Cup grand final at ANZ Stadium.
The 19-year-old prop has been in outstanding form in the finals series, following on from his regular season exploits where he was a dominant force.
Ofahengaue, who lives in Collingwood Park, was the leading metre runner in the entire Holden Cup with 4103m at an average of 171m per game.
He had more hitups than anybody else with 395.
Broncos Under 20s football manager Scott Czislowski said the former St Peter Claver College student had been a revelation in 2015.
Ofahengaue (pictured) trained with the full-time squad in the pre-season where he more than held his own against the NRL players.
"Andrew McCullough was leading all the fitness work but Joe was right behind him," Czislowski said.
"That is extraordinary for a big man who is around 113 kilos.
"He is phenomenal with his aerobic capacity.
"He plays a good 70 minutes for us in the middle and sometimes 80. That is huge.
"Last year he came off the bench, but he has started for us this year.
"Near the end of the season he has been running over 200 metres every game which is just phenomenal for a forward to do.
"And Joey is only a bub."
Ofahengaue said he would need to play a major role in containing Warriors prop and co-captain Sam Lisone in the grand final.
He said Lisone had been in devastating form and must be nullified.
"Big Sammy is the guy I really want to mark up on," Ofahengaue said.
"I see him as their go-to man.
"He gives them a roll-on.
"So I want to be on him all day and try and do a job on him."
The big prop has signed with the Broncos in 2015 and wants to play Intrust Super Cup for the Ipswich Jets next season as a stepping stone to the NRL.
"Playing Q Cup is a goal I have set for next year. I really want to play against men," he said.
"But NRL will be my main focus. I am going to give 100 % in pre-season and get a good name with Wayne Bennett."
Joe is the nephew of former Wallaby number eight Willie Ofahengaue, who is now a priest living in Tonga.
Joe respects what his uncle has done in rugby union but wants to carve out his own destiny.
"It is always good hearing about him but I really want to make my own name in rugby league," he said.
Czislowski said Ofahengaue had "come a long way" on and off the field over the past 12 months.
"He's matured a lot," Czislowski said.
"Twelve months ago he couldn't distinguish between having fun and football.
"But now when it is football time he switches on.
"He's working at Rebel Sport at Indooroopilly and getting that regular work off the field has had a big impact on his performances on the field, just with getting that structure.''
- Tomorrow: Holden Cup Under-20 grand final (1.50pm) - Brisbane Broncos v New Zealand Warriors.
Match shown live on Channel Nine.