Penrith’s ferocious Fijian edge is triggering alarm bells at the Warriors ahead of Saturday’s NRL finals showdown.
Giant second-rower Viliame Kikau has been identified as a monumental threat ahead of the encounter in Sydney, particularly in conjunction with his Fiji international teammate Waqa Blake.
Kikau’s unrivalled power on the Panthers left edge has turned him into one of the NRL’s premium attacking weapons.
The 23-year-old has continued his barnstorming form from last year’s World Cup, when he terrorised the Kiwis in the Bati’s famous 4-2 quarter-final win. He was later included in the team of the tournament.
Kikau and Blake made life miserable for centre Peta Hiku during the 30-point thumping of the Warriors in Penrith in July, tallying 13 tackle busts and 299m run between them.
The Warriors bounced back in Auckland, winning 36-16, yet Kikau was still a big threat with six tackle busts.
Warriors second-rower Tohu Harris says he and Hiku will be stretched to the limit containing the 23-year-old.
“He certainly is one of the biggest challenges in the comp and he hasn’t just shown it in flashes throughout the season,” Harris said.
“He’s done it consistently throughout the season – tearing sides apart and showing how dangerous he is.”
Warriors coach Stephen rates former Fiji schools rugby union representative Kikau as one of several threats in a Panthers team who were missing then injured five-eighth James Maloney at Mt Smart Stadium two weeks ago.
Maloney’s halves combination with NSW Origin teammate Nathan Cleary is potentially destructive if the Warriors get on the back foot.
“Kikau’s obviously a very dangerous threat with the footy. Blake outside him’s very dangerous also,” Kearney said.
“They’ve got a couple of pretty dangerous halves. If I keep going I’ll fill the players’ minds up with too much information.
“We know we’ve got a game plan which, if we execute, we give ourselves a great opportunity.”