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Hungry Tiger: Ofahengaue out to make amends for horror 2020

Wests Tigers prop Joe Ofahengaue admits he lost the hunger for rugby league last year but says a change of scenery has him primed to return to peak form.

Ofahengaue is brutally honest on his own 2020 form, in which he was a shadow of the hard-running prop who played Origin a year earlier and his battling club finished with the wooden spoon.

He is also full of praise for the strength of the pack he finds around him now, led by former Panthers skipper and new club captain James Tamou.

"I wasn't really happy with my performance last year," Ofahengaue told NRL.com.

"This year I've really kind of worked on the little things around my game because I know what potential I've got. I know what I can give to a team but it was just the wanting to do it last year wasn't there for me.

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"As a player I always liked to be called a hungry player. Last year I didn't show no hunger at all in the way I played.

"This year, the little things for me is what I like to work on and that's what keeps me going every day. Working my little lines, little plays with my teammates, just finding that hunger again. I really found it this pre-season but it's all talk until we get into a game."

Ofahengaue has no ill feelings towards Broncos coach Kevin Walters after an amicable agreement to part ways.

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"It was mutual agreement, there was no hard feelings between me and Kevvie – he picked me for Origin, he was really straight up with me," Ofahengaue said.

"He told me it's in my best interests that I looked elsewhere and I honestly agreed with him because I just wasn't delivering. I was there for eight years and just nothing was clicking for me. The new scenery really has helped me and I'm just enjoying it."

The depth at the club and the new players signed were a big part of why the 25-year-old chose the Tigers over other interested parties including the Dragons.

"I had a couple of clubs coming for me but when I saw Jimmy Roberts sign here then I looked at the roster, I saw a young hungry team that's just waiting to have some forwards," he said.

"I saw Jimmy Tamou coming over and I said 'why not'. It's such a big club here, Sydney's such a big place but there's such rich history with the Wests Tigers.

"It's not like I didn't have anywhere else to go but the Tigers had the best fit for me. I didn't think Dragons was a good fit for me but just this club was similar to what the Broncs has, it has culture, another club willing to be better, always on the brink of trying to break through to the finals."

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There's a hint of a back-hander towards the Broncos' efforts last year in his praise for the new-look Tigers squad.

"We've got a lot of depth here, that's one thing I'm really excited about. And then actual guys that really want to do their best for the team. It's a good look so far," he said.

"I'm really excited to work with Jimmy Tamou in the forwards. Even the bench, on the weekend, Thomas Mikaele, he's a freak. When he gets going and gets that second phase he's going to be awesome for us.

"I think Stefano (Utoikamanu) that came from Parramatta, he's got a big engine and he's a real workhorse."

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