|Civoniceva at the Fiji Bati awards, Nov 2013|
21 April 1976 |
|Height||193 cm (6 ft 4 in)|
|Weight||116 kg (18 st 4 lb)|
|2009||Prime Minister's XIII||1||0||0||0||0|
|As of 3 May 2014|
|Source: NRL Stats, League Central and Rugby League Project|
Petero Civoniceva (Fijian pronunciation: [pe te ro ðɪ βo ni ðe βa]; born 21 April 1976), is an Australian former professional rugby league footballer of the 1990s, 2000s and 2010s. A Queensland State of Origin and Australian international representative prop forward, in 2009 he broke the record for most international matches for Australia of any forward in history. Civoniceva played his club football for the Brisbane Broncos, with whom he won the 1998, 2000 and 2006 NRL Premierships, as well as for the Penrith Panthers, whom he captained. Late in his career whilst playing for the Redcliffe Dolphins in the Queensland Cup, Civoniceva captained the Fijian national team in their 2013 Rugby League World Cup campaign. The Petero Civoniceva Medal is awarded to the Australian Fijian rugby league player of the year.
The correct Fijian pronunciation of his surname is "thee-vo-ni-there-va" // as the Fijian 'c’ is pronounced as a 'th'. However, for ease of pronunciation his surname is usually said with the 'c' sounded as an 's' as in the usual English pronunciation of the letter.
Civoniceva was born in Suva, Fiji, where his father, Petero Sr, was a rugby union player. Civoniceva's parents moved to Redcliffe, Queensland before his first birthday. There he attended Humpybong State School, then Redcliffe State High School before finishing his senior schooling at Frawley College, now known as Southern Cross Catholic College. He played junior football for the Redcliffe Dolphins until 1994.
After 39 reserve grade games he began his NRL career as a centre with the Brisbane Broncos. He won the club's Rookie of the Year award in 1998 and went on to play from the bench in Brisbane's 1998 NRL grand final win at the end of the season.
Civoniceva missed the Broncos grand final victory in 2000 due to injury, as well as Australia's 2000 World Cup campaign. Having won the 2000 NRL Premiership, the Broncos travelled to England to play against 2000's Super League V Champions, St Helens RLFC for the 2001 World Club Challenge, with Civoniceva playing at prop forward in Brisbane's loss. His international and State of Origin debuts followed during that year. At the end of the 2001 NRL season, he went on the 2001 Kangaroo tour.
Following the 2003 NRL season, Civoniceva went on the 2003 Kangaroo tour of Great Britain and France, helping Australia to victory over Great Britain in what would be the last time the two nations contested an Ashes series.
Civoniceva won the Brisbane club's Player of the Year award in 2004. Civoniceva was selected in the Australian team to go and compete in the end of season 2004 Rugby League Tri-Nations tournament. In the final against Great Britain he played prop forward in the Kangaroos' 44–4 victory. He was the 2006 Brisbane Broncos season's player of the year and he played at prop in the Broncos' 2006 NRL Grand Final victory. As 2006 NRL Premiers, the Brisbane Broncos travelled to England to face 2006 Super League champions, St Helens RLFC in the 2007 World Club Challenge. Civoniceva played as a prop forward in the Broncos' 14–18 loss.
Civoniceva was selected to play for the Australian national team as a prop forward the 2007 ANZAC Test match victory against New Zealand. During the 2007 NRL season, at the Broncos' 20-year anniversary celebration, the club announced a list of the 20 best players to play for them to date which included Civoniceva.
Civoniceva signed to play for the Penrith Panthers for the 2008 season. The deal is for 2 years with an option for a third and is believed to be worth $370,000 a year. Civoniceva's move to New South Wales and another NRL team rather than relocating to England allowed him to continue to be available to represent both Australia and Queensland.
In January 2008, Penrith Panthers announced Civoniceva as captain of the team for 2008.
In August 2008, Civoniceva was named in the preliminary 46-man Kangaroos squad for the 2008 Rugby League World Cup, and in October 2008 he was selected in the final 24-man Australia squad.
He went on to play in Queensland's State of Origin victories in game 1 and then game 2, but suffered a season-ending foot injury in the first half of the second match. After sitting out the remainder of the NRL season, his next match was for Australia against New Zealand in the opening match of the 2009 Four Nations in London. By playing in the final, a victory against England, Civoniceva became the first forward in history to play forty internationals for Australia.
For the 2010 ANZAC Test, Civoniceva was selected to play for Australia as a prop forward in their victory against New Zealand. In the 2010 NRL Premiership, Civoniceva led the Panthers to second place on the ladder at the conclusion of the season, but in the penultimate round of the season he was sent off for a high tackle against the Bulldogs which resulted in him being suspended for two weeks. As a result, he missed Penrith's first qualifying final, where despite a brave effort the Panthers lost by just two points against the Canberra Raiders.
In Round 5 of the 2011 NRL season, Civoniceva scored his first try since Round 8, 2008, against the Canberra Raiders in the 36–10 thrashing at Centrebet Stadium. He was one of the stars of Queensland's victory in Origin 1, 2011, running for more than 150m and outperforming the NSW forwards.
Civoniceva scored his second try of the season in Round 16 against the North Queensland Cowboys, which was a 30–20 victory by the Panthers. The try involved a skilful left foot step from close range that left several Cowboys players, including Matthew Bowen, grasping at thin air. This was the Women in League round, and also the rookie coach, Steve Georgallis' first game as coach for the Penrith Panthers.
Civoniceva's stint at Penrith ended on a low, with the Panthers failing to qualify for the semi-finals, and thrashed by the St. George Illawarra Dragons, 32–12, at Round 26. Civoniceva also succumbed to a torn pectoral muscle injury during the 22nd minute of the game.
Return to Brisbane
On 26 July 2011 it was announced that the Penrith Panthers released Civoniceva from the final year of his contract, within the week, it was announced that he had signed to return to his original club, the Brisbane Broncos on a one-year deal.
On 8 May 2012, Civoniceva announced his retirement effective at the conclusion of the 2012 season.
Civoniceva was selected to play for Queensland in the 2012 State of Origin series.
During the 2012 NRL season Civoniceva became the 17th player in premiership history to play 300 games. The third and deciding match of the 2012 State of Origin series, a Maroons victory which sealed an unprecedented seventh consecutive series for Queensland, was Civoniceva's last. Played at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium, it featured a post-match farewell speech for Civoniceva.
Civoniceva announced he will play for the Redcliffe Dolphins in the Queensland Cup during the 2013 season. At the end of the year he was selected to travel to the UK and represent Fiji, his country of birth, in the 2013 Rugby League World Cup.
Later on in the year, Petero became an assistant coach, assisting main coach Rick Stone.
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