Penrith wrecking ball Viliame Kikau has declared he has “no regrets at all” with his decision to quit the premiers for last-placed Canterbury next season, and there will be no backing out of his $3.2m mega deal.
Coach Trent Barrett’s decision to part way with the Bulldogs on Sunday night immediately raised questions about what that would mean for incoming recruits Kikau and Parramatta’s Reed Mahoney.
Kikau inked a four-year deal while Mahoney’s contract was reportedly worth $2.4m over three years.
The Dogs confirmed on Tuesday there were no clauses linked to Barrett with Kikau and Mahoney, nor any other players on the current roster.
Kikau spent time with Barrett at Penrith, and has always been a huge fan of football manager Phil Gould. A grainy photo of Kikau posing with Barrett and Gould after he had signed late last year caused plenty of negative headlines.
The 27-year-old had interest from St George Illawarra and North Queensland, where he started out in the lower grades, before opting for Canterbury.
Viliame Kikau has no regrets about joining Canterbury next year.Credit:Getty Images
While Kikau had not been in contact with Barrett, he remains determined to help turn the Belmore club’s fortunes around.
Speaking to the Herald after his barnstorming effort against Melbourne late Saturday – and 24 hours before Barrett officially parted ways with Canterbury, Kikau said: “I’ve got no regrets at all.
“I’m really happy with my decision, and that’s the main thing. At the end of the day if I’m happy, that’s all that matters to me. When I’m happy, that’s when I play my best football.
“I haven’t spoken to Baz. I haven’t spoken to him in a while. All I’m focused on right now is Penrith.”
Phil Gould addresses the media on Monday about Trent Barrett’s departure.Credit:Getty Images
Gould will meet with the club’s assistant coaches today to establish who will be elevated to interim coach for the remainder of the season, with the logical choices Dave Furner or Craig Sandercock. They will then take a breath and work out who steps into the hot seat from 2023.
Prime candidate Cameron Ciraldo will not cut and run on Penrith and is determined to see out the year in the hope the Panthers can win back-to-back titles. Cronulla premiership-winning coach Shane Flanagan is seen as the favourite in clubland, and has plenty of the experience that Gould wants in Barrett’s successor.
Gould declared Barrett would remain at the club long after he had gone just two weeks ago, only for Barrett to part ways with a second NRL club.
“It was Trent’s decision. I certainly wasn’t going to sack him. It’s sad it’s come to this,” Gould said on Monday.
Viliame Kikau suffered a bruised retina.
“I think the performances and pressure, he got the feeling he didn’t have the solutions for what was going wrong.
Meanwhile, Kikau discussed the struggles he faced in the lead-up to the Melbourne game after being poked during some friendly fire against the Eels. His right eye was still blood-red in the sheds at Suncorp Stadium.
“It’s been awkward, I saw an eye specialist at the start of the week and they said there was bad bruising on my retina. They told me to rest it for the week, and the only risk with the eye was making the bruise bigger with any contact.
“I trained all week because I didn’t want the boys thinking I was in any doubt.
“My vision is all good, it’s just really itchy when I wake up and before I go to sleep. That’s why it is all red.”
Kikau, who will pose the Sydney Roosters all sorts of trouble this Saturday night, was praised for his defensive efforts by co-captain Nathan Cleary during the post-match press conference, and Kikau agreed.
“I broke on to the scene with attacking flair, but tough games are won on defence, so that’s what I’ve worked on over the pre-season,” he said.
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