Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

Big Joe Has Family in His Heart Ahead of Decider; Big Joe Ofahengaue Is a Young Man on the Rise. Journalist Joel Gould Reports

Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

Big Joe Has Family in His Heart Ahead of Decider; Big Joe Ofahengaue Is a Young Man on the Rise. Journalist Joel Gould Reports

Article excerpt

FAMILY, where life begins and love never ends.

They are the words that are written with care on the wall of the living room when you walk into the Ofahengaue family home at Collingwood Park.

One thing you can be certain of is that when big Joe Ofahengaue runs out for the Broncos against the Warriors in Sunday's Under 20s grand final at ANZ Stadium he will have his loving family in his heart.

And he will be in their hearts too.

When the QT arrived yesterday to speak to the 19-year-old prop about his date with destiny it seemed as though all the Ofahengaues on the planet were there to support him.

Joe, the nephew of former Wallaby star Willie Ofanhenague, was chased by many of the elite rugby schools to play for them and had a scholarship offer on the table from Churchie.

But his father Josh says the decision to send his son locally to St Peter Claver College for his senior years was the right one.

"We are from a rugby union family. From the family point of view I wanted him to follow Willie's ways," Josh says.

"But Joe has always been a family man. He loves his mum...and loves his brothers and sister.

"Away from them, it wasn't going to happen for Joe.

"We turned the scholarship down because he wanted to play rugby league. We wanted to make sure that he is happy."

St Peter Claver College, where Joe was school captain, is noted for its outstanding development of league players and is also highly regarded for its academic standards and support.

Joe's mum Kathy said his initial grounding at St Edmund's College had also "provided great support and great ethics and instilled all the things that we were promoting as a family".

"It really strengthened his commitment to working hard to achieve something," she says.

Her son has certainly done that, on the field and off it.

Joe, who has four brothers and one sister, credits mum Kathy and dad Josh for keeping him on the right path. …

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