Api’s NRL come­back ‘writ­ten in the stars’

Bati hooker shows his worth and prove Sea Ea­gles of­fi­cials wrong

Fiji Sun - - SPORTS - MARGIE MC­DON­ALD Edited by Leone Cabenatabu­a

Dur­ing the 2020 pre­sea­son Api Koroisau had cir­cled the round 15 match at Pan­thers Sta­dium on June 26.

It was the night he was sup­posed to meet his for­mer club Manly for the first time since his en­forced exit from the north­ern beaches. But then a pan­demic hap­pened and the world was turned in­side out.

Koroisau then had a new date to look for­ward to - August 1 at Lot­toland. It was worth the ad­di­tional wait.

“I thought about it [orig­i­nal date] at the start of the sea­son but once we got going ev­ery­thing got up­turned,” Koroisau told NRL.com.

“But as it got closer I started to get ex­cited again.” Koroisau bears no mal­ice to­wards the Manly club. He wanted to ex­tend his fouryear stay with the Sea Ea­gles but of­fi­cials told him they were mov­ing ahead with young No.9 Manase Fainu.

Then off-field is­sues and shoul­der surgery stopped Fainu in his tracks. By that time Koroisau had moved back to Pen­rith and Manly had lured New­cas­tle’s Danny Levi to its ranks.

As the foot­ball gods would have it, Koroisau al­most missed play­ing his old team­mates after he hurt his el­bow against the Cow­boys in round 10.

After a fort­night of in­ten­sive ther­apy, and miss­ing the Ti­tans win, Koroisau made it back a week ear­lier than pre­dicted.

“I was re­ally happy with my progress, so were the med­i­cal staff, and there wasn’t much pain so I knew I could play this week,” he said.

“It’s al­ways good to come back home ... it must be been writ­ten in the stars to play here again.”

Manly fans might not think so after see­ing Koroisau help or­ches­trate a 42-12 thump­ing.

The win keeps Pen­rith at the top of the ta­ble.

“We’ve spo­ken a lot about mo­men­tum and try­ing to keep what we’ve got here going,” Koroisau said, re­fer­ring to seven straight wins.

“You want to ride it for as long as you can. We’ve also showed that when things do get hard and we don’t play our best, we’re still com­ing away with the two points. “It was a great week we’ve just had that led to one of our bet­ter wins.” No ar­gu­ment there – seven tries to two and a stun­ning com­ple­tion rate of 42 sets from 44.

“That’s re­ally high. I wasn’t ex­pect­ing that but I’m pretty im­pressed by those num­bers,” Koroisau said.

“The game these days is so quick – a lot of it has to do with pos­ses­sion and field po­si­tion. So if we’re com­plet­ing that high it shows we’re do­ing the right things with the ball – kick­ing it into the right places. “We’re going to be a hard team to beat if we keep do­ing that. Tonight was a re­ally good sign.”

Half­back Nathan Cleary’s kick­ing game – 22 in to­tal – was helped by the fact Koroisau was back feed­ing him the ball cleanly and quickly.

“The more flu­ent the spine is with each other and the bet­ter con­nec­tion we have, the whole team can feed off that,” Koroisau said.

“So my con­nec­tion with Nath is im­por­tant but also the work I do with the for­wards is cru­cial.”

Koroisau did his part by top­ping the match tack­les with 52. His op­po­site num­ber Levi made 51 tack­les.

“For me, I think it’s a bit of lit­tle-man syn­drome. I’ve al­ways been the small­est in the team and you’ve sort of got to prove your worth and for me, that’s in de­fence. “You’re al­ways going to be picked out and have peo­ple come at you. But you’ve just got to hold your own and show you’re not a li­a­bil­ity.”

Pen­rith Pan­thers and Fi­jian Bati hooker Api Koroisau.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Fiji

© PressReader. All rights reserved.