NRL: Peta Hiku joined Panthers to be 'part of something special'

Peta Hiku of the Penrith Panthers. Photo / Getty Images
Peta Hiku of the Penrith Panthers. Photo / Getty Images

Peta Hiku will never forget the sales pitch that secured his signature at Penrith.

Flash back four months and Hiku was seriously weighing up offers from Parramatta and St George Illawarra, before a meeting with Anthony Griffin convinced him to link with the Panthers.

Speaking to The Daily Telegraph on Thursday night, the Kiwi Test centre admits Griffin's motivating words to move to the foot of the mountains have well and truly been justified, only eight weeks into the deal.

"Hook just caught my attention with how he wanted to treat his footy team," Hiku recalled.

"He explained to me really clearly that he has a young side he wants to develop for the next few years.

"Penrith were one of the late inclusions and Parra and the Dragons were right up there.

"They both had a lot of experience, but I was excited about coming to a young team at the Panthers.

"I really wanted part of something special.

"Everyone here has to learn and no one is over their head about themselves.

"I'm really happy because the rebuilding is going quite well at the moment."

Hiku has played all seven matches for Penrith this season, while he has also scored four tries.

It's strong form that has him right in contention to earn another New Zealand jumper in next month's Test against Australia in Newcastle.

Hiku credits his strong recent form to a positive environment at the Panthers.

"There is a lot of belief in our team with how we are going, on-and-off the field," said Hiku, who has already played 9 Tests for the Kiwis.

"Playing for Penrith is not just about playing footy - it's also about playing for the area, the fans and your family.

"That has a lot of meaning behind why we put the jersey on and it's certainly helped me."

Hiku has particularly enjoyed playing alongside emerging Kiwi stars Dallin Watene-Zelezniak and Te Maire Martin this season.

He believes both youngsters wouldn't look out of place in the Kiwi Test side.

"Knowing that they want to play for the black and white, I reckon they are both capable of doing the job and would have nothing to worry about," he said.

"Putting that black and white jumper on is something you wait your whole life to put on and you don't want to let it down.

"Te and Dallin would certainly do it (the jumper) justice."

- news.com.au

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