Ofahengaue milestone against top NRL prop

Broncos star Joe Ofahengaue wants to play like his NRL role model Josh Papalii.
Broncos star Joe Ofahengaue wants to play like his NRL role model Josh Papalii.

Joe Ofahengaue says he sees in Canberra prop Josh Papalii the NRL player he wants to be.

The Brisbane front-rower will play his 100th NRL match on Saturday night in Canberra, and says it's special to do it against Papalii, who is widely regarded as the best in the business.

"He plays for this mates every week and that's what you see in big 'Paps' and that's why I admire him and why the team want to play around him," Ofahengaue said on Tuesday.

"That's the kind of player I want to be and this year I haven't been that player."

The 24-year-old said fellow forwards Pat Carrigan and Payne Hass were carrying the struggling Broncos and they all needed to "go with them".

Ofahengaue can take heart that Papalii hasn't had it all his own way.

His Maroons teammate was dropped by Ricky Stuart midway through the 2018 season but forced his way back to become one of Canberra's most consistent performers.

The Broncos will face the fifth-placed Raiders without their coach Anthony Seibold, who is taking time out of the NRL bubble to deal with family issues, and also powerhouse second-rower Tevita Pangai Junior, who breached biosecurity protocols.

Ofahengaue said little had changed under assistant coach Peter Gentle, with Seibold contributing from afar.

He described Gentle as a "good bloke" who lightens the mood within the Broncos and is open to the ideas of players.

Ofahengaue said the players were disappointed in Pangai's actions in failing to isolate after their loss to South Sydney.

"It's very disappointing, not just for our club but the whole of the NRL," he said.

"We're hurting but people make mistakes and you can only learn off them and for us boys, we know the pressure is going to be on us to keep doing the right thing."

Meanwhile, former Bronco turned television analyst Ben Ikin has put his hand up to succeed Paul White as the club's next chief executive officer at the end of the season.

Ofahengaue thought the former Queensland and Australian representative could do the job.

"He's a legend here so I'm pretty sure he'd do a good job if he comes."

Australian Associated Press