Kiwis test fullback happy with a two-try outing against old Warriors’ teammates.
Former Junior Warriors star turned Manly wing Peta Hiku punished his former club with two crucial tries in a high-quality clash at Mt Smart Stadium yesterday.
The 21-year-old Gisborne-born Manurewa-bred rookie scored in the 23rd and 65th minutes, getting outside his opposite Manu Vatuvei to stretch out and plant the ball down one-handed inside the sideline and ingoal touch lines.
The Kiwis test fullback fronted the media post-match alongside Manly coach Geoff Toovey, wearing a big smile after a strong showing in front of family and friends.
"It was good to get a couple of tries here at Mt Smart. I had 10 family [members] and extra friends, I just couldn't name them all," Hiku said.
Hiku paid tribute to the classy work of the players inside him and downplayed his own efforts, with centre and Manly skipper Jamie Lyon and fullback Brett Stewart delivering the final passes to put him away.
"It's good there's a lot of experience there in our backline and in the forward pack. I suppose I've got the easiest job out there just putting the ball over the line, especially with it going through the hands of [Daly] Cherry-Evans and a lot of international footballers there."
Warriors skipper Simon Mannering felt the Sea Eagles deserved their place at the top of the NRL ladder and praised their ability to execute with accuracy, while lamenting his side's missed chances.
"When they put their plays on they put them on at 100 per cent, run their right lines, right timing and they put you under pressure. On the other hand, defensively, they work very hard for each other. They're a quality team but we're disappointed we didn't take our chances."
Toovey was pleased his side were able to weather the early onslaught from the Warriors but admitted they were lacking some of their strongest attacking weapons.
"They've been starting really fast and well. They missed a bit of direction today with Shaun Johnson being out and with Feleti Mateo not coming off the bench too. They lacked a little bit of creativity losing those two quality players. But they're a tough, strong, physical side and they really took it to us today."
Warriors coach Andrew McFadden expects both players to be available for next Sunday's away clash with Canberra.