September 22, 2021
Penrith Panthers chief executive Brian Fletcher is confident to re-sign Fiji Bati forward Viliame Kikau for the next season.
Kikau is set to become one of the most demanded players in the NRL but the club haven't given up hope of keeping the second-rower for another season.
The 26-year-old will be available to negotiate with rival clubs for 2023 and beyond from November 1 this year but he has already attracted interest from North Queensland and St George Illawarra.
Kikau is reportedly set to ask for upwards of $800,000 per season for his next deal, which would put the Panthers in a tough spot to retain him.
Speaking on the Big Sports Breakfast Fletcher revealed that the club is confident that Kikau would re-sign for less money.
“At this stage, we’ve got our roster done for 2022 – we’ve got 26 players signed...the only big-name one left for us to sign for the future is Viliame Kikau," he said.
"We’re very confident that we will be able to come to an agreement with his management and have him on the roster for another three or four years as well.”
"I’d say he would (take less money) because a lot of players like to take a little bit of a discount to play with a side that’s going well, and I think he comes under that category.”
"He’s been there ever since he was a young player and he has got a home out in Penrith, and he’s very good friends with all the Polynesian boys.
"Every indication is that he will be staying," he explained confidently.
Kikau has scored 29 tries in 96 games for the Panthers since making his debut back in 2017, and has become one of the most damaging edge forwards in the competition in recent years.
By Romeka Romena