Hiku goes full cir­cle with War­riors re­turn

Sunday News - - LEAGUE - DAVID LONG

‘ It was about en­joy­ing footy again and get­ting back to the top of my game.’ PETA HIKU

TAK­ING one for the team al­most cost Peta Hiku his in­ter­na­tional ca­reer, but at long last he was able to breathe new life into it against Scot­land last night.

When Hiku left the Pan­thers mid­way dur­ing a dis­ap­point­ing sea­son to sign with strug­gling Su­per League club, War­ring­ton, it looked like his days in a Ki­wis jersey had come to a pre­ma­ture end.

How­ever, it turned out to be the per­fect move to re­vive his ca­reer as he starred each week for the Wolves, help­ing them stay in the top tier of the English com­pe­ti­tion and when the War­riors came knock­ing, he man­aged to get an early re­lease from his con­tract to re­turn to New Zealand and the War­riors next year.

So all of a sud­den, the fu­ture is look­ing bright for Hiku again and he’s ex­pected to have an im­por­tant role for the Ki­wis over the re­main­der of this World Cup.

How­ever, play­ing for New Zealand again wasn’t some­thing he was con­tem­plat­ing when he left for Eng­land, his pri­or­ity was to PHOTOSPORT fall in love with league again.

‘‘It crossed my mind [about the Ki­wis], but I wasn’t wor­ried by it too much,’’ Hiku said. ‘‘It was about en­joy­ing footy again and get­ting back to the top of my game.

‘‘With the in­jury and ev­ery- thing there was a lot of stress, but go­ing over there and ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the be­lief the club put into me at War­ring­ton brought back the con­fi­dence and en­joy­ment.

‘‘Let­ting me know again how good I can be was what I needed to hear.’’

Hiku was in out­stand­ing form in 2015 for the Sea Ea­gles and was cho­sen for the Ki­wis squad for their tour of Eng­land at the end of that year.

But in­stead of play­ing on the wing or at cen­tre he was thrust into the halves, a po­si­tion he knew lit­tle about. Also while on that trip he was in­formed by in­com­ing Sea Ea­gles coach Trent Bar­rett that he didn’t fig­ure in his plans for the fol­low­ing sea­son.

So in the space of a cou­ple of weeks, Hiku’s ca­reer had been turned up­side down.

Hiku will come full cir­cle next year when he re­turns to the War­riors, the club that let him go in 2012 be­cause they didn’t think he was go­ing to be good enough to play in the NRL.

De­spite that snub, Hiku said there were no hard feel­ings from him about re­turn­ing to the club.

‘‘It will be good to come back home and see my fam­ily,’’ he said.

‘‘I’m happy it turned out the way it did, be­cause when I went to Manly I learnt a lot from all the se­nior play­ing group.’’

Peta Hiku felt join­ing Manly helped him to de­velop.

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