Tevita Pangai Jnr

NRL legend Billy Slater hammers Tevita Pangai Jnr

Having struggled to match their opponents in the middle of the field since the season restarted from the COVID-19 shut down, the return of Pangai Jnr from suspension was expected to boost the Broncos' go-forward.

The Tongan international enforcer had been sidelined for four weeks after he was charged for dangerous contact for a high shot on Justin O'Neill in the Broncos' round one win over the Cowboys. 

Mum's the word for hungry Pangai

His mother Olivia has been living with the 23-year-old for a week and his father Tevita Pangai snr was set to arrive on Tuesday.

It is the home cooking of his mum, and in particular a Tongan dish made with taro leaves, coconut cream, onion and meat that has Pangai, and his favourite dining companion Matt Lodge, licking their lips.  

The Brisbane forward said his mum had been a "huge" influence on him.

"Sometimes I get a bit excited when her cooking comes but she is always trying to slow me down and make sure I only have one plate," Pangai grinned.

No regrets for Tonga star Pangai despite NSW revival

The 22-year-old forward supports the decision of Broncos teammate Joe Ofahengaue, who is a chance of being called into the Maroons team on Monday, to turn his back on the Mate Ma'a.

Newcastle-raised Pangai, the Junior Kangaroos skipper in 2016 and part of the Emerging NSW squad a few months ago, said he can't wait to get into camp with the Tongans for the Pacific Test against Samoa next Saturday, the day before several Broncos teammates will be playing in Origin II a few kilometres away the next day.