The Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, this week confirmed the signing of Tevita Pangai Junior for three seasons starting in 2022.
Tevita, who is one of the games’ most destructive ball runners, was born in Ashfield and grew up in Campsie, only a suburb away from the Bulldogs’ spiritual home ground of Belmore.
The 25-year old’s earliest memories of the Bulldogs go back to 2004, when an eight-year old Pangai Junior watched Canterbury claim their eighth premiership with a 16-13 win over the Sydney Roosters.
What caused the Dogs latest recruit to follow the blue and whites was Sonny Bill Williams.
“There were blue and white cars going off in the streets,” Pangai told the Sydney Morning Herald’s Michael Chammas.
“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.”
With interest from other clubs, he also explained why he signed with Canterbury.
“I love the roster they are building,” Pangai added.
“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.
“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.”