An embarrassing drink-driving charge, an engagement and the birth of his first child – 2020 has been a rollercoaster ride for Brisbane forward Joe Ofahengaue.
The Queensland State of Origin representative was stood down for the first two matches of the NRL season after pleading guilty to being over the blood-alcohol limit when he was caught sleeping in his car in January.
The subsequent COVID-19 crisis has delayed his first appearance of 2020 until late May, and the Tonga international cannot wait to get started.
The 24-year-old is clearly still hurt by the off-field drama and is in no doubt he has a debt to repay to his teammates when the NRL resumes on Thursday with the Broncos hosting Parramatta at Suncorp Stadium.
“I let them down missing the first two rounds and to their credit they did awesome and got us two wins so now I’ve got to do my job and keep the energy going,” Ofahengaue said.
“I’m not new to being in the news about little stuff like that and this one really hurt because I felt like I was doing good and becoming a better person and growing up.
“I had that little hiccup and it kind of hurt me a bit because I have a bigger following than I did when I was younger, and (there were) a lot of people out there that I let down.
“I know that and I apologise for that. Now I’m just in a good mindset.”
During the competition’s suspension, Ofahengaue and fiancee Sofi Leota have welcomed the arrival of a baby girl, named Mila.
Ofahengaue said becoming a father was already inspiring him to avoid further off-field problems in his career.
“It’s my duty to be the best person I can now,” he said.
“I’ve got a daughter that looks up to me and I’ve got to do everything I can to be a good person for her.”