Petero Civoniceva to return for boyhood club
Brisbane, Queensland and Australian rugby league great Petero Civoniceva will pull on the boots and play again next season.
The 36-year-old veteran of more than 300 NRL games, 33 State of Origins and a record 45 tests as a forward for Australia has agreed to play for the Redcliffe Dolphins in next year's Queensland Cup competition in an amazing coup for the club where he started his playing career almost 20 years ago.
Civoniceva is following a similar path to Redcliffe legend Arthur Beetson who returned to play for the Dolphins in 1981 after his major role in the birth of State of Origin.
"I grew up on these hills, playing touch footy on the field with other kids and getting booted off as the first grade side ran out," recalled the Fijian born forward who retired in September when the Brisbane Broncos bowed out of the NRL finals.
"They're great memories."
Civoniceva began his career playing in the centres with Redcliffe as did Beetson, his childhood idol.
In one of his last interviews before he died of a heart attack, Beetson said Civoniceva was the player that most reminded him of himself in his playing days.
"I always thought Petero was going to be the next Arthur Beetson because he had this tremendous work rate," said Beetson.
Dolphin's stalwart Troy Lindsay said he always hoped Civoniceva would wind up his magnificent playing career in Redcliffe's red and white colours.
Lindsay played 306 games for Redcliffe, almost the same number of NRL games Civoniceva played during his 15-year career.
"I just wish I was young enough to be playing with him," he said.
Civoniceva meanwhile is also understood to have agreed to take on a joint role with the NRL and QRL as a development ambassador, travelling throughout the community promoting rugby league to young children.