first_imgOfahengaue will travel with Brisbane to New Zealand to take on the Warriors on Saturday and he will have a point to prove after a forgettable performance this time last year. It was a cold Auckland afternoon when the Broncos travelled to Mt Smart Stadium to take on the New Zealand Warriors in Round 13 of the 2016 season. The match took place just days after Origin I, and a depleted Brisbane were forced to travel across the ditch without Corey Oates, Matt Gillett and injured hooker Andrew McCullough. Starting for only the third time in his short NRL career, Ofahengaue was in charge of getting the Broncos off to a good start, with coach Wayne Bennett trusting the young prop to do what was right and lay a strong platform for Brisbane’s halves to run off. But that didn’t happen; instead Ofahengaue was taken off after 26 minutes of play as the Broncos trailed 18-0. He did not make it back onto the field, finishing the match with horrible statistics that included zero runs for zero metres and four missed tackles. Subsequently, Ofahengaue was dropped the following week and it took its toll, with his form struggling as a result.The young forward only played four games for the rest of the year, in and out of the side while gathering limited minutes off Brisbane’s bench. But 2017 has been much kinder to Ofahengaue who is now a regular face in the Broncos’ side after making some changes to the way he works on and off the field. A new routine has seen Ofahengaue freshen up mentally and his fitness has improved, with his 48 minutes of game time in Brisbane’s 36-0 drubbing of the Wests Tigers in Round 11 the most he has played in his NRL career. Ofahengaue also ran for 156m and made 34 tackles in that match, with both of these personal bests as he continues to develop himself into a workhorse front-rower. The 21-year-old spoke to NRL.com about his transformation, saying a change in attitude has revolutionised his playing style. “I’m excited to see my family in New Zealand and then when the game comes hopefully I put in a good performance,” Ofahengaue said.”I’ve changed my whole routine around since 12 months ago. “This year I’m trying not to take my spot for granted and I’m trying to get my confidence up around the ruck a bit more. It’s something I worked on in Queensland Cup so I just hope I can stay in the team now.” Ofahengaue will be an integral part of the team this week, with six players absent on Queensland Maroons duty. Captain Darius Boyd, Corey Oates, Anthony Milford, Matt Gillett, Sam Thaiday and Josh McGuire are all omissions because of Origin, with McCullough also out after suffering a bad concussion in Round 11. But Ofahengaue is confident his side will cope despite missing over 1,200 games of NRL experience, trusting New Zealand internationals Adam Blair and Alex Glenn to lead the way against the Warriors. “I was just hoping to get picked this week. We are looking at missing at least six boys out, maybe more if ‘Macca’ isn’t right. I just hope we do a good job there,” he said. “Nothing will change for me. Even though we have some boys leaving we still have a lot of leaders in the group. “Alex Glenn and Adam Blair are really good for us and will lead the way.”last_img read more

first_imgArsenal midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has revealed the Gunners squad are ‘happy’ with the club’s summer transfer business.Petr Cech moved across London from Chelsea in a £10m switch, but the Gunners failed to add to the goalkeeper signing and were the only team in Europe’s top five leagues not to recruit an outfield player during the window.Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger came under fire from the media and a host of ex-professionals for his thrifty approach, but Oxlade-Chamberlain is convinced the squad is in good stead for the season ahead.“We [the Arsenal players] are happy. Petr Cech is an amazing signing for us. In that Liverpool game [0-0 at the Emirates] he showed what an amazing keeper he is and what an asset he is to our squad,” the 22-year-old said at an England press conference previewing the national side’s game with San Marino.“We’ve got great depth in numbers and when you look at the likes of Danny Welbeck and Tomas Rosicky to come back from injury, we’ve got really good options.”Oxlade-Chamberlain is not a guaranteed starter for club or country, but the midfielder embraces the competition for places as England bid to complete Euro 2016 qualification over the next week.He added: “It’s not easy to get in the Arsenal or England team so you have to approach it in the same way.“You have to know what your qualities are and when you get the opportunity you have to produce them because if you don’t then someone else will.“Everyone is just as crucial within the [England] squad because we’ve had a lot of injuries. You look around and think everyone deserves to be here now and it’s down to some of them to stake their claim.”last_img read more