October 09, 2021
Fiji Bati hooker Apisai Koroisau and second rower Viliame Kikau are two most important players in the Penrith Panthers squad who will be without a contract next season.
Koroisau has been a key signings that helped the Panthers rise from 10th in 2019 to minor premiers in 2020 and premiership winners in 2021.
His speed and playmaking out of dummy half has got his forwards rolling forward and taking the pressure off halves Luai and Cleary and Dylan Edwards at the back.
Hookers are so vital under the new NRL laws and there will be no shortage of clubs lining up for Koroisau’s services for 2023 and beyond.
Kikau is arguably the hottest forward on the open market and while he wants to stay at the Panthers, they may not be able to match the money on offer elsewhere and in rugby union.
Edwards is also off-contract in 2022 and he will attract plenty of interest after his grand final heroics which saw him run for over 200 metres with a broken foot.
Panthers 2021 squad: Eddie Blacker (2022), Matt Burton (2021), Kurt Capewell (2021), Nathan Cleary (2024), Stephen Crichton (2023), Dylan Edwards (2022), James Fisher-Harris (2026), Jack Hetherington (2021), Robert Jennings (2022), Matt Eisenhuth (2022), J’maine Hopgood (2022), Mitch Kenny (2022), Viliame Kikau (2022), Apisai Koroisau (2022), Spencer Leniu (2021), Moses Leota (2024), Jarome Luai (2024), Liam Martin (2023), Taylan May (2022), Tyrone May (2021), Paul Momirovski (2022), Brent Naden (2021), Jaeman Salmon (2021), Charlie Staines (2023), Lindsay Smith (2022), Scott Sorensen (2023), Izack Tago (2024), Brian To’o (2023), Isaah Yeo (2024)
2021 gains: Izack Tago (2024), J’maine Hopgood (2021), Taylan May (2021), Jaeman Salmon (Eels), Robert Jennings, Matt Eisenhuth (both Tigers), Scott Sorensen (Sharks), Paul Momirovski (Tigers), Eddie Blacker (Dragons)
2021 losses: Josh Mansour (Rabbitohs), Caleb Aekins (Raiders), Jack Hetherington (Bulldogs), James Tamou (Tigers), Zane Tetevano (Leeds), Kaide Ellis (Dragons), Daine Laurie (Tigers), Malakai Watene-Zelezniak (retired), Dean Whare (Catalans), Pat Hollis, Brayden McGrady (both unsigned), Billy Burns (Dragons)
By Romeka Romena