May 28, 2012 9:46 AM EST
Civoniceva : A Championing Farewell to Maroons
No other forward has played as many Tests or State of Origin matches as the Fijian-born Queensland giant, Peter Civoniceva.
Civoniceva made his debut for the Maroons when they defeated the Blues 2-1 in 2001 and he has been one of the pillars in the front row ever since in 30 appearances for his state.His front row partner Mark Scott says he is honoured to be packing down with Civoniceva in his final series, highlighting the influence the 36-year-old has had on some of the younger members of the Maroons squad.
At age 36 and in his last season, he knows the axe may well fall on his illustrious Origin career if the smaller, more mobile New South Wales pack get the upper hand and the Blues pull off an upset at Melbourne's Docklands to grab a 1-0 series lead.
"You live by the sword and I've put myself on the line again to go (around) one more time," said Civoniceva, as he prepared for his 31st Origin match.
Civoniceva is no different to any player - he fears being axed.
Before the second match of the 2006 series, Civoniceva and Darren Lockyer were told their Origin futures were on the line with the Blues threatening to take a record fourth straight series after winning the opening match 17-16 despite the Maroons holding a big lead early. The turnaround then is etched in history with the Maroons going on to win six straight series. "There was doubt over the careers of Locky (Darren Lockyer), Steve Price and myself in 2006," Civoniceva said.
"I'm just so grateful we were able to build something from there and I've been able to remain in the team."
So too are coach Mal Meninga and his Maroons team-mates who regard Civoniceva as the rock on which many of their great victories over the Blues have been built. Tough back-rower Nate Myles loves having Civoniceva around. He is not surprised that, even in the intensity of Origin, no player had taken a swing at the 110-kilogram Civoniceva during his 30 Queensland appearances.
"I don't think anyone will replace what Petero means to Queensland on or off the field."
Unbeatable speed and guard are his weapons in winning games.
Petero Civoniceva,centre,was most displeased with the Panthers' display during their 48-12 loss to his former club Brisbane in Weekend Australian March 22-23 2008.
Eyeing for His Last Play
MAROONS warhorse Civoniceva is thrilled for his last play for Origin and feared being axed if he fails to deliver in the series opener on Wednesday night.
Most Experienced Forward
Civoniceva will run on to Etihad Stadium as the oldest player in Origin history at 36 years and 32 days - eclipsing Maroons great Allan Langer (35 years and 331 days) - but concedes his status as the code's most experienced representative forward will not save him if he fails to hold his own against the Blues.
Given his vital contributions in Panther's winning career, the Broncos bookend announced his retirement at season's end a fortnight ago and hopes to celebrate the fairytale Origin farewell his good mate Darren Lockyer enjoyed at Suncorp Stadium last season.
Afraid of Losing
Inspite of his undeniable experience in winning games, he's nervous for his last game before resting from the field. The pragmatic Civoniceva yesterday admitted he had to perform or perish in Game One against a New South Wales team determined to rain on his Origin parade.
Civoniceva at the Field
Civoniceva showed his spectacular moves in the AAMI Park, championing over England.
A year after farewelling Darren Lockyer on a winning note, Queensland Origin players are determined to send out Petero Civoniceva in similar fashion.
After series of games,Scott and Civoniceva will have their work cut out for them with the Blues set to feature captain Paul Gallen and debutant James Tamou as their bookends.
Discipline in Defense
Panther's supreme determination in guarding the opponent from goal.