Containing Penrith second rower Viliame Kikau will be essential if the Warriors are to win their opening National Rugby league playoff match in Sydney tomorrow night.
Kikau has been one of the competition’s leading attackers this season – picking up from from last year’s World Cup, when he terrorised the Kiwis in the Bati’s famous 4-2 quarter-final win.
Kikau also made life difficult for the Warriors during their 30-point thumping of the Warriors in Penrith in July although the Warriors bounced back in Auckland, winning 36-16.
Warriors second-rower Tohu Harris concedes they will be stretched to contain Kikau.
“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.”
The 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.”