Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk
Since debuting for the club back in 2017, Viliame Kikau has played 90 games for the Penrith Panthers, playing in three finals series for the club and last year’s Grand Final.
He has become a stalwart at the foot of the mountains but that all could be about to change.
From November 1st Kikau is free to negotiate with rival clubs as the Dragons seem set to breathe some real fire, with the Red V reportedly set to offer the Fijian International a multi-million dollar deal, according to the Australian’s Brent Read.
Dragons coach Anthony Griffin and Viliame Kikau do have a storied past together, as it was Griffin who gave Kikau his first-grade debut in 2017 while he was at the Panthers, and the 26-year-old may want to return the favour to the man who believed in him by joining his current side.
Statistically, Kikau is performing about as well as he has done for the majority of his career scoring eight tries, averaging 118 running metres per game and has made 397 tackles for an efficiency rate of 90.4%.
However, when watching Kikau play his biggest issue is that he tries to force himself into Penrith’s attack at times and can cause errors to be made, and this has happened far too often this season for him to be worth a multi-million dollar deal; however, if St.George Illawarra is serious about bringing the back-rower into the fold then they will have to pay offers to scathe off reported interest from French Rugby.
At the Dragons, Kikau would slot straight into the second row alongside New South Wales Origin representative Tariq Sims, with Billy Burns, Jackson Ford or Tyrell Fuimaono all options St.George Illawarra could opt to bring off of the bench.
If this deal does happen Penrith will be short on troops that can play in the back row by 2023 as both Kikau and Kurt Capewell will have left at this point, with the latter already signed on at the Broncos from 2022 onwards.
This would leave New South Wales Origin representative Liam Martin and Scott Sorenson to fill the void, with young outside back Izack Tago the only real option that the Penrith Panthers has for a bench second-rower.