By Shell on Mar. 29, 2021
Petero played 309 NRL games for the Brisbane Broncos and Penrith Panthers, 51 Tests for Australia and Fiji and 33 State of Origin matches for Queensland. Known for his toughness, fitness and consistency, the Fijian-born front-row forward won three premierships with the Broncos and played in eight winning State of Origin series with the Maroons. In 2018, he was inducted into the NRL Hall of Fame.
But what has always marked Petero as a true champion are his qualities both on and off the field. Following his NRL retirement, the father of four has thrown himself into numerous causes close to his heart. As well as his tireless work for Deadly Choices, a program promoting Indigenous health, Petero has a welfare and mentorship role at the Broncos and spearheads a Fiji-based league team (the Kaiviti Silktails) that plays in an NSWRL competition.
His latest cause is promoting rugby league across his beloved Queensland as an ambassador for the QRL and the major sponsor of its men’s and women’s representative teams, Shell V-Power.
“It’s all about raising awareness and continuing on the great interest there is amongst supporters and our boys and girls who love rugby league,” says Petero. “Queensland Rugby League’s partnership with Shell V-Power creates an opportunity for greater support through our communities – not just in the cities, but also in the regional areas that are big supporters of the game.”
Of course, the pinnacle of rugby league in Australia is the State of Origin series between Queensland and NSW. For Petero, Origin is special because of its unique history and the calibre of stars who have made it such a success.
“As a player, you feel a great sense of pride and responsibility ensuring that legacy continues,” he says. “That Maroon jersey represents so much more than just the 17 players who take the field – it represents every Queenslander. We've had many occasions where the Queensland team defied expectations; we were the underdogs and found a way to win. The players take ownership of that … they understand who they represent.”
Petero is grateful that rugby league has given him many chances to make friends and influence others. “Sport provides a wonderful opportunity to impact positively on people's lives – whether it's through community engagement programs or visiting schools and hospitals,” he says.
“When I think about State of Origin, one of the great things [coach] Mal Meninga did for us as a team was take us out to some of those regional areas. We would go to Emerald, Roma – all these great places – and get a chance to see what it meant to the people, even though they were going through a lot of hardship and facing adversity.
“That Maroon jersey just gave them that lift they needed. It certainly provided us with lots of inspiration to perform to the best of our ability on game night.”