GOOD news Sea Eagles fans — Peta Hiku has been firing all pre-season and is desperate to replicate his standout performances from last year.
At just 22, he could be anything.
After making his NRL debut in 2013, he quickly became popular with supporters thanks to a number of assured 80-minute performances as a “Mr Fix It” in Geoff Toovey’s star-studded backline.
Be it replacing Brett Stewart at fullback, filling in the centres or occupying a spot on the wing, Hiku rarely put a foot wrong.
He took his game to another level with New Zealand in the Four Nations triumph late last year, and is refreshed after a short break.
Hiku is certain to be part of Manly’s Auckland Nines squad on January 31 and February 1, where his impact is tipped to be huge across the ditch.
He can sniff out a try better than most players in the competition and his defence is impressive, given his size.
“I guess we will just have to wait and see, I would love to play,’’ Hiku said.
“It will be good to play some footy, training has been pretty tough in this heat. Once the season rolls around I would love to be in the (first grade) team, that is my focus.”
Before signing a three-year contact extension last May, Hiku was in the sights of rival NRL clubs looking at 2015 and beyond.
New Zealand, where he played his junior footy, were tabling a deal worth a reported $1 million, while Des Hasler’s Bulldogs fancied him as their long-term fullback.
He is an integral part of Manly’s future, and like so many, Hiku would love to see Kieran Foran and Daly Cherry-Evans retained.
“Both of them are playmakers for their respective countries, that says it all,’’ he said.
“It would be great if they both stayed, they are super players and I would love to play alongside them for many years, if I can.”
And then there is veteran Willie Mason.
The prop has done it all in the game, but his instant enthusiasm in fresh surroundings after he was cut by Newcastle has impressed his new teammates.
“He is a funny bloke, always geeing the boys up,’’ Hiku said.
“Willie has been around for so long, so when he talks, we all listen.
“I think he will be a good buy for us.”
Attacking ace pumped for massive 2015
JANUARY 22, 2015 5:02PM