Hiku goes full circle with Warriors return
‘ 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.