Seibold’s demand for wayward Broncos star
BRONCOS hierarchy have challenged Joe Ofahengaue to step up as a leader as the Origin prop vowed to repay the club in his comeback from the stain of an NRL integrity-unit suspension.
Brisbane coach Anthony Seibold has demanded more consistency from Ofahengaue, who returns from a two-match ban for Thursday night's season relaunch against the Eels at Suncorp Stadium.
The joy of becoming a father 10 days ago has imposed a new chapter of responsibility for Ofahengaue off the field - and Broncos bosses want more leadership from him on it.
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The Queensland Origin bookend has had three brushes with the law in four years, most recently in January when he was charged by police over an alcohol-related incident involving a motor vehicle.
But at 24, and with a baby daughter to care for, Ofahengaue cannot afford another slip-up, especially with boom props Tom Flegler, Ethan Bullemor and Jordan Riki breathing down his neck.
Ofahengaue and Alex Glenn are the only forward survivors from Brisbane's 2015 grand final campaign and, five years on, Seibold says it's time for the Maroons prop to spearhead the Broncos pack.
"We need Joe to step up, simple as that," Seibold said.
"He is not in our leadership group but he is a very talented front-rower, he is an Origin player and guys here look up to him.
"Joe played in the 2015 grand final off the bench so he has been around a long time now in the NRL and we need him to be consistent.
"Joe has matured over the last period of time, becoming a dad will be a big change for him.
"We need him to be a leader with his actions, not so much with his talk, but with his actions.
"He is in a really good spot off the field and I am looking forward to seeing him develop as a person and player.
"We missed him in the first two rounds, so it will be great to have him back in the team this week."
Breaking his silence on his NRL suspension, 90-game veteran Ofahengaue pledged to stay out of trouble and be a good role model for not only his teammates, but his daughter Mila.
"A lot of people I let down, I know that and I apologise for that," he said.
"I'm not new to being in the news and this one really hurt because I felt like I was going well and becoming a better person and growing up.
"I feel like it's my duty to be the best person I can. I have a daughter who looks up to me and I have to do everything I can to be a good person for her.
"I owe it to my teammates, I let them down missing the first two rounds and to their credit they got us two wins and now I have to do my job and keep the energy going.
"I'm turning 25 in September. I know I can be a leader for these young boys and if that means I come off the bench for the team, I'll come off the bench, that's not a problem."
Broncos legend Darren Lockyer believes fatherhood could take Ofahengaue to a new level as a player.
"I always say when players become fathers for the first time, it makes them grow up overnight," he said.
"They have another responsibility. Joe will grow as a person this year. He has had a few indiscretions off the field but he has learnt from those."