March 10, 2021
Fiji Bati reps Apisai Koroisau and Viliame Kikau have been named in the Penrith Panthers starting lineup to face the Cowboys in their NRL Premiership opening match on Saturday.
Twelve months ago Koroisau was preparing to make a return for the Panthers in a second stint at the club after four seasons at the Sea Eagles.
Panthers attacking hooker James Segeyaro departed in 2016 but instantly brought back their Fijian international and they classified it as “It was like he never left.”
Speaking to NRL.com Koroisau revealed that pressure release has got him back to best compared to his performance of 2020.
"Since I've come back I've started to enjoy footy a bit more. There were great players at Manly but here there's a fair bit of pressure taken off me.”
"Not that I had too much over there but I probably got caught up too much worrying about playing good, instead of being happy to do what I do.”
"Having Nathan Cleary and Jarome Luai on either side doing their thing helps a lot but the middles in this team are incredible.”
"Isaah Yeo and James Fisher-Harris helped my game with quick play-the-ball and that's pretty vital."
"It's a great technique to not get flattened out on your belly. When the forwards do that the ruck gets quick within the space of a tackle. If you're on the attack it's amazing to look up and run, and it's very hard to defend."
In a pre-season match, the Panthers showed they were more than capable of the same roll-on in their 16-6 trial win over Eels last week.
"We were pretty happy with how we started last week, the first 20 minutes was exactly what you want to do. It felt like we left off from last year so hopefully we can take that into the season."
With their grand final defeat still lingering in the background, Koroisau has his eyes set on the premiership title this year.
"There’s no real way to describe it other than heartbreak and disappointment after getting so close. It was pretty disappointing but the first thing we did was address the elephant in the room and if anything it helped everyone release any anxieties or pressures we had.”
"Leading into the pre-season it's been really fun and it's more a feeling that last year's effort is now a standard we've set for ourselves."
The Penrith Panthers will take on the Cowboys at 8.35pm.
By Romeka Romena