Rugby | SPORTS

Kikau Leaves Penrith With Fond Memories

Fiji-born Penrith Panthers en­forcer Viliame (Vili) Kikau will depart the club after six seasons and believes there is “no better way” to leave than winning back-to-back premierships.
05 Oct 2022 16:53
Kikau Leaves Penrith With Fond Memories
Two-time Premiership winner Viliame Kikau celebrates the National Rugby League (NRL) grandfinal win over the Parramatta Eels with his baby son in Sydney, Australia, on October 2, 2022. Kikau is co-captain of the Fijian Bati in the Rugby League World Cup , which starts on October 15. Photo: NRL.com

Fiji-born Penrith Panthers en­forcer Viliame (Vili) Kikau will depart the club after six seasons and believes there is “no better way” to leave than winning back-to-back premierships.

The 27-year-old signed a four-year deal to join the Bulldogs from 2023 onwards and was clearly emotion­al following the Panthers huge 28-12 grand final victory.

He leaves for England to join the Fijian Bati as they prepare for the Rugby League World Cup, which starts on October 15.

Kikau played 123 games for Pen­rith, making his debut in 2017— but the curtain has now closed on an illustrious career at the foot of the mountain.

 

“It feels good, winning the pre­miership, it feels pretty similar (to last year), obviously with the same boys, not a lot of changes in the squad,” Kikau said to foxsports.com.au.

“We are just happy to put in a good performance like that… this club has done a lot for myself, not only to be a better player, but to be a better person off the field.

“No better way to leave the club than winning a premiership.”

Kikau couldn’t speak highly enough of coach, Ivan Cleary, who he believes has become a “father figure” for himself.

 

The Panthers were able to win all four grades including SG Ball, Jer­sey Flegg, NSW Cup and the NRL- a feat which Kikau puts down to everyone “buying in”.

“Really great club, just a great culture overall, everyone buys into it, which makes it a great club,” Ki­kau said.

“I have learnt a lot off Ivan, and I really appreciate what he has done for me footy-wise and he is just a good person in general.

“He has taught me a lot, sort of like a father figure for myself, I learnt a lot from him.”

Kikau also labelled superstar halfback Nathan Cleary as “one of the greats” and Dylan Edwards “tough and courageous”.

 

“It is good, we just make sure we do our job, when the middles do their job it makes it a lot easier for him,” Kikau said.

“When the middles are working hard, doing their job, it makes it easier for him to kick off it.

“He has got an old head in a young man’s body, he sees the games dif­ferently, so he is going to be one of the greats.

“He (Edwards) has been under­rated in the league, played his best footy from Round 1 to tonight so he showed he a really tough and cou­rageous bloke.

“I love playing alongside Dyl,” Ki­kau added

 

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