Persistence pays off for Ranger Afoa

It's been a long road to the XXXX Queensland Rangers for Iosua (Josh) Afoa.

At 28, the Ipswich Brothers big bopper fill finally gets his crack at taking on the New South Wales Pioneers at Davies Park on June 30.

With over 30 Intrust Super Cup matches with Norths Devils under his belt and an imposing frame, the Rangers hope will batter holes in the NSW line; it seems strange Afoa is only pulling on his first representative jersey for the side now.

Josh Afoa in action for Norths Devils. Photo: QRL Media
Josh Afoa in action for Norths Devils. Photo: QRL Media

It is because while his form is undeniable, lady luck has been cruel to him. 

Injuries have punctuated the last four years at crucial times - a broken jaw here, a broken arm there - all during representative carnival seasons.

"Last year I broke my arm, then I came back and broke my finger," Afoa said.

"So I've had a lot of bad luck with injuries. I really appreciate being here today. It makes all the sacrifice worth it."

Afoa, who stands at 6'3'' and weighs in at 115kg, will form part of an imposing Rangers forward pack that NSW will find hard to match.

"Even on the bench, there are some big boys on the bench," Afoa said.

"I'm fairly confident that we can get the job done."  

Coach Glen Dreger said Afoa earned his place in the Rangers with an impressive showing in 2019 and was confident he would not let anyone down against NSW.

"I think it's really exciting for him," he said.

"From the carnival where the boys were picked, we just picked a footy side that we thought could get the job done against NSW. We just picked the best 18 blokes.

"Josh really deserved his spot and I am really excited to have him in camp."

Josh Afoa during the first Queensland Rangers hit out. Photo: QRL Media
Josh Afoa during the first Queensland Rangers hit out. Photo: QRL Media

Dreger said while Afoa and the rest of the Rangers forwards had size on their side, they would also be able to move the NSW pack around the park as well.

"It's a big pack, but it's a mobile pack," Dreger said.

"They've all got good skill level which we will use, we won't just be a bash and barge team.

"We'll use their skill and develop a style around them."

Afoa isn't thinking too far ahead, but does hope that a strong game for the Rangers could propel him back into the Intrust Super Cup in the future.

"I'm just taking it a little at a time - whatever comes," he said.

"If I get another chance at the Cup, that would be a bonus."