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Analysis: Kikau To Follow Radradra To Union?

The 26-year-old is believed to be paid at AU$700,000 (FJ$1.2 million) but new offers are expected to be more than AU$900,000 (FJ$1.5m) per season.
13 Sep 2021 16:28
Analysis: Kikau To Follow Radradra To Union?
Penrith Panthers forward, Viliame Kikau.

Where to from here for Penrith Panthers strongman Viliame Kikau?

The powerhouse Fijian forward comes off contract in 2022 meaning he will be able to negotiate with rival National Rugby League (NRL) clubs from November 1 this year.

According to a Sporting News report there had confirmation from Panthers chairman Dave O’Neill that Kikau would be unlikely to remain at the club due to salary cap constraints.

The 26-year-old is believed to be paid at AU$700,000 (FJ$1.2 million) but new offers are expected to be more than AU$900,000 (FJ$1.5m) per season.

Kikau has scored 29 tries in 94 games for Penrith since making his debut back in 2017, and has become one of the most destructive players in the competition.

It is understood that St George IIIawarra Dragons and North Queensland Cowboys are after Kikau.

Cowboys although they are not going to go higher in their offer but banking their attempt on the fact that Kikau had been one of their own product.

The club had recruited Kikau while he was attending school in Suva.

At the early stage of his NRL career, he had played for the Cowboys before moving to Penrith.

According to Channel 9’s Danny Weidler Kikau could be the targets of rich rugby union clubs in Europe.

He could be following the footsteps of Semi Radradra, who from Parramatta Eels went on to play for Toulon and Bordeaux in France before signing up for Bristol Bears in England.

An interesting note here is Radradra and Kikau share the same manager.

“He’s got the same manager as Semi Radradra and we saw that he’s now paid gazillions in Europe and just won a (Olympic Games) gold medal playing rugby,” Weidler said.

“There’s a link there that could see him get a lot of money thrown at him from overseas so it’s going to be fascinating to watch how Penrith manage it.”

In April, former All Blacks star first five-eight and now rugby commentator Andrew Mehrtens in his column with the Sydney Morning Herald outlined that Kikau should be one of the wanted players in Wallabies coach Dave Rennie’s list.

“If you took Kikau into the right rugby environment with good coaching, he could morph into a superb player,” Mehrtens stated.

“He’s Fijian, so has rugby in his blood. Of the bigger guys, he’s one that particularly stands out. What determination he showed in Friday’s Panthers and Storm game when, after lying flat on the ground, he jumped up, sprinted across the field to get under the ball and effectively saved the game for his team.

“When Kikau hits the ball up, he is a seriously hard man to bring down and regularly has two or three defenders working overtime to stop him. His height would be handy and I’d love to see what he could do in rugby.

“My gut feel is that he’d be a No.8, playing alongside a hard-working No.6 to go with a ball-fetching No.7. That’s a tantalising back row.

“Something tells me Dave Rennie would like what Kikau is about, too.”

For now everything rests on what Kikau and his manager decides next.

Surely enough, it’s going to be done on the best interest of the Fijian beast.

But as of now Kikau has made clear that he intends to stay in Penrith.

“All that stuff that happens behind the scenes I just leave it to my manager’s hands. That’s his job. That’s obviously what player pay their managers to do. I just want to make sure I perform well, let my performance do the talking. That’s about it.”

Results

Finals Week One: Storm 40-12 Sea Eagles, Roosters 25-24 Titans, Panthers 10-16 Rabbitohs.

Feedback: leonec@fijisun.com.fj



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