27 Jul 2011

Petero's return to Brisbane backed by Hannant

5:54 am on 27 July 2011

The wounds have healed and one of Brisbane's favourite sons Petero Civoniceva is heading home to the Broncos to help the National Rugby League club deal with life after Darren Lockyer.

Civoniceva was forced out of the Broncos in 2007, when Brisbane decided to withdraw their contract offer to him because of salary cap restraints.

It was a disappointing end for a player who should have been a one-club man, but after four years at Penrith, he now has the chance to exit the Broncos - who he served for 215 matches - on the right note.

However, Civoniceva's homecoming, following three seasons with Penrith, hasn't pleased everyone at the Broncos.

The manager of football operations at Brisbane Andrew Gee has hit out at critics quick to suggest the move would discourage the club's young front rowers hoping to crack the NRL permanently in 2012.

Brisbane have assembled a bunch of raw young props in Josh McGuire (21), Mitchell Dodds (22), Dunamis Lui (21) and David Hala (22), all of whom have first grade starting aspirations.

A former Queensland and Australian front-rower himself, Gee says he'd read early feedback on the internet including some comments Civoniceva would get in the road of the club's developing players.

Starting prop Ben Hannant, 26, was certainly happy with the news when it filtered through to Red Hill during training on Tuesday.

Civoniceva's homecoming also raises the question as to whether with his vast playing experience, he'd take over as captain for one season or longer if he decided to keep playing.

But Griffin admitted he hadn't had time to digest the possibility of him taking the reins ahead of the club's established long-serving forwards Sam Thaiday or Corey Parker or even youngster Alex Glenn who many see as a future leader of the club.

Gee would not confirm speculation the club had offered Civoniceva a position after football to get him back.