Joe Ofahengaue is grateful to yet again be in the Maroon’s Origin set up after missing out on last year’s squad.
The Wests Tigers prop has returned to the form that saw him selected in game three of the 2019 series.
Despite a return to form, he was still very surprised to receive a phone call from new coach Paul Green.
“I was about to watch a movie with missus, it was about 8 o’clock in Sydney and a random number came through and it happened to be Greeny, so I was really shocked,” he said at a press conference on Friday.
It’s been a tough 12 months in the footballing life of Ofahengaue, being released by the Brisbane Broncos after a drop in performance for both player and team. A move to the Wests Tigers has completely reinvigorated him.
“Moving to Wests Tigers I had the mindset to get back to where I know I can be, and I just kept my head down and worked my ass off,” he said.
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He just stripped his game back, and began to work on the basics again, taking solace in the fact that in 2019 he had debuted for the Maroons.
“I just had to sit down and re-think to myself a year previous to that I was playing in an Origin arena, game three starting for the Maroons, and that’s what gave me the confidence.”
Now that he has yet again been called up to the Maroons squad, last year’s stirring series victory that he wasn’t a part of acting as inspiration for this year’s series.
“I was kind of jealous when they won it last year because I could have been there, but it is what it is, it’s a new series now and we will be doing our best to get the win.”
Ofahengaue’s return to Origin camp coincides with new coach Paul Green’s first camp in charge of the Maroons.
While he couldn’t compare Green to former coach Kevin Walters, Ofahengaue loves the relaxed atmosphere Green brings to camp.
“He is probably one of the most relaxed coaches I have been around,” he said.
“He’s out there playing cards on the bus with the boys, he’s always playing cards at dinner and he’s got a few new things around the joint to get the boys to bond. He is just a really enjoyable guy to be around and is not awkward to talk to at all.
“I can’t really compare him to Kevy, but they are both different in their own ways.”
Origin 1 is set to kick off on Wednesday June 9 at Queensland Country Bank Stadium, Townsville.
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