September 10, 2021
Fiji Bati and Penrith Panthers forward Viliame Kikau’s market value has skyrocketed up to $900,000 a year.
In tough news for Penrith Panthers fans in the lead up to Saturday night's NRL finals clash against South Sydney, the club concedes, it will be "hard" to keep star forward Viliame Kikau after next season due to salary cap pressures.
Kikau's contract comes off in November and has been approached by rival clubs from November 1.
Penrith's salary has been chewed up by Nathan Cleary, Isaah Yeo, Jarome Luai, Stephen Crichton and James Fisher-Harris, with the club admitting the star would need to take significantly less to stay.
"It will be hard for us to keep him because he is going to command big dollars, especially with the way he is playing at the moment," Penrith chairman Dave O'Neill told News Corp.
"We will have to address that after the season. I don't know what sort of money Vili will command but I'm sure there will be clubs that will offer big dollars. It will be hard if the dollars being bandied around are true."
The Dragons are chasing Kikau hard but have baulked at the huge price tag for the bustling forward and are yet to make formal contact with the star's agent.
Some in the NRL world claim Kikau is worth $700,000 to $750,000 but some clubs are reportedly willing to give him $900,000 a season, possibly even $1m.
Clubs with money to spend include Canberra, Sydney Roosters and Wests Tigers have all been linked to Kikau.
Canterbury general manager of football Phil Gould shares a history and strong relationship with Kikau from his days at Penrith.
By Romeka Romena