Player Peta Hiku

Peta Hiku given release from Warrington to join Warriors
David Long 15:33, September 9 2017

  • The signing of Hiku is a great acquisition, but it also highlights a huge error the club made in 2012 when they decided not to offer him a contract, believing he wasn't good enough to play in the NRL, despite being their Under-20s player of the season that year.

    But the Sea Eagles took a punt on Hiku and got themselves a bargain.

    Back in 2014, Hiku told Sunday News he never stopped believing in himself, despite the Warriors dumping him.

    "After the Warriors I made the Junior Kiwis and when I was in that side someone mentioned to me that 70 per cent of under-20 players don't make it through and that went through my head, " Hiku said at the time.

    "But I still hoped I'd make it and there wasn't any negative stuff going through my head.

    "I still thought I could make it into the NRL, so yeah, I must have done something right."

    Realising their mistake, the Warriors did try to sign Hiku later that year and offered him $1m for three years, however, he chose to stay at the Sea Eagles for less money.

    When he was let go by the Sea Eagles at the end of the 2015 season, the Warriors didn't have enough room left in their salary cap to make him an offer and he chose to go to the Panthers on what was supposed to be a three-year deal.

    Like Gerard Beale, who was signed by the Warriors on Friday, one of Hiku's great strengths is his versatility.

    While he's been recruited predominantly as a centre, he can play on the wing and is even able to fill in at fullback, while for the Kiwis on their 2015 tour of England, he played five-eighth. For the first test he partnered Tuimoala Lolohea and for the next two with Kodi Nikorima.

    The Warriors squad for next year will look remarkably similar to that Kiwis squad from two years ago as eighy players from it will have signed, or are expected to sign, for the club since then.

    Those players are Kieran Foran, Hiku, Adam Blair, Manaia Cherrington, Issac Luke, Beale, Tohu Harris and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck.

    Five players in that squad were Warriors players, while they have looked as signing at least a further six more players from that squad.

    The Gisborne born Hiku has been a revelation at Warrington, with one knowledgeable league source in the UK telling Stuff that if it wasn't for him the club would be looking at relegation this season.

    He surprisingly fell out of favour with Anthony Griffin at the Panthers this season and was allowed to move to Warrington, but at his age he was arguably too talented and too young to end up in the Super League.

    At the Warriors he'll increase the competition for starting spots at centre and wing.

    Given he's coming from the other side of the world to join the Warriors he'll be all but guaranteed of a place in the starting team, most likely at centre.

    Where Beale slots in will determine who else gets to start in the backs, but David Fusitua showed enough this year he should play every week, but Ken Maumalo, Blake Ayshford, Solomone Kata and Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad will all be fighting for the one remaining spot.

    Stuff
 
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