Civoniceva’s 300 puts him with the best

Only special players make it to 300 first grade appearances in the NRL. They each share some obvious traits, such as durability, and consistency. But of today’s triple centurions there’s also a lot that can be said about the way they handle themselves as people. 

Petero Civoniceva reached that milestone last weekend in the Brisbane Broncos come from behind win against South Sydney. He was able to mark the occasion by taking the final conversion attempt for his side.

In his typically humble style he spoke after the match about how he just wanted to get it over and done with, without falling on his bum. He managed that, but the kick flew well wide of the posts, and looked every bit like it had been kicked by someone who had plied their 300 game trade where toughness and making ground where the hard yards are played matter more then the fancy skillsets do.

To make it to 300 games, you obviously need to be a stand out player. But when looking through the list of the 17 players to have reached that milestone, you notice the nature of those players is similar in a lot of ways to Civoniceva. 

Each played not only a leadership role on the paddock, but they all, for the most part, came across as people who handled themselves well off the field too. 

A good example is Steven Price, who played the bulk of his football for Canterbury, but reached 300 games while part of the Warriors in New Zealand. Like anyone, Price had his share of personal issues to deal with. One such problem that came to light was a supposed problem with gambling. 

In today’s world we’re used to seeing players falling from grace, and stuffing up. The difference with Price was that he recognised that he had a problem, then quickly and voluntarily sought help and implemented a solution. He was also open and honest about it and used his experience to help others with the same problem. 

In short, the guys that make it to 300 in the modern game need more then just skills and toughness. 

Another similarity between the players is a relaxed attitude. Few of the players on the list took themselves too seriously, and also handled the media well, even in times of strife. 

Petero Civoniceva is a player that no one in their right mind would want to trifle with off the paddock. The giant Fijian-Australian looks like he’s made from a mixture of granite and Kevlar. But he’s also a player that you would want to look up to, or have your kids emulate, because all of his league playing abilities aside, he’s a damn good bloke. 

The 17 players with 300 notches on their belt are among the most famous to have played the sport. But you get the feeling that most of them aren’t really bothered with it (being famous). That trait, being able to focus on what matters – getting the job done, and doing it properly – instead of worrying about how you look in the eyes of the masses is a core component to these players longevity. 

Civoniceva goes about his business without fuss, but no-one could doubt his passion or the effort he puts in. At 36 he is still playing representative football, and is a key contributor to the Broncos front row. 

The NRL has more then it’s fair share of off-field shenanigans to deal with. Many of the younger generation are having to cope with the stress that comes with massive media attention, and weighty pay cheques. They get a lot of the attention. Television in general is populated with so called reality TV ‘stars’, who do little more then argue, drink, and argue some more, which is a real shame when there are awesome role models in the mold of Civoniceva and co. 

This will be the last year we see the man nick-named ‘Fidge n Freezer’ as he’ll be retiring once the Broncos end their season. He’ll walk away from the game with plenty of silverware in the form of Premierships, Origin series wins, and World Cups, plus he’s also one elite player who chose to play out his entire career in the NRL.

The Broncos are tracking nicely so far this season, so there’s a real possibility that, all going well, he’ll get to bow out in style on the big stage come grand final time.

 

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