Brisbane Broncos great Petero Civoniceva could never have dreamed of being included in rugby league's Hall of Fame when he was given a shot at first grade in 1998, he writes in this week's Big League magazine.
Civoniceva, one of six players officially inducted into the Hall of Fame on Wednesday night along with Mark Graham, Cliff Lyons, Steve Menzies, Ricky Stuart and Gorden Tallis, writes about the faith shown in him by his early coaches
"When I made my first grade debut in 1998, I wouldn't have ever imagined achieving what I have. It was a monumental thing for me to make my first grade debut because I had slugged it out in the lower grades for so many years," he writes.
"I was probably on the verge of giving up and it was a bit of faith from Cyril Connell at the Broncos, who kept pushing me to Wayne Bennett, and finally the super coach gave me an opportunity. If it wasn't for certain people who believed in me and my ability, I wouldn't have got this far. To make my first grade debut was the pinnacle moment and then everything since then has been a bonus."
The legendary prop, who spent four seasons at the Penrith Panthers along with 11 at Brisbane and played 45 Tests for Australia and six for Fiji, also spoke of his joy of being named alongside former teammate Tallis.
"There's also a sense of extra celebration this week because my former skipper Gorden Tallis has also been inducted in the Hall of Fame.
"I was so lucky to have played alongside him. He was a wonderful leader because of the way he played. He was as tough as they come and will be remembered as one of the gutsiest players to have played the game.
"Not only was he a fantastic competitor, he was always there to inspire his teammates. When things weren't going our way, he would always spur us on. So it's such a special feeling being inducted into the Hall of Fame alongside my friend and former captain."