Peta Hiku's part time role in the halves for his country could be extended to his club football.

Hiku has impressed on this tour in the six jersey, and is now being touted as a five eight option at Manly next year.

Initially Hiku was seen as one of Stephen Kearney's more left field selections, when the coach insisted that Hiku, who had spent all season on the wing at Brookvale, was going to fill a test play making role.

With one test still to play, you'd have to say Kearney's vision has been vindicated. Hiku has been a strong performer, and has enjoyed being closer to the action than normal.


"It's gone better than what I thought and what a lot of people thought," said Hiku.
"It's been good to play there and I wouldn't mind being there in the future."

What about at Manly, where new coach Trent Barrett is casting around for a replacement for Kieran Foran?

"It would be good if Trent has been watching," laughed Hiku. "It's a free spot in the team at the moment and hopefully he enjoys the way I have been playing. If we need a half I'm happy to go there."

When the Kiwis were first announced, Hiku was "just happy to be in the team". But then reality took over; he would be running the Kiwis backline, with another rookie (Tui Lolohea or Kodi Nikorima inside him). Daunting stuff for a 22-year-old. Some sessions with Kieran Foran at Manly helped, as did a pre-tour training run in Sydney with Issac Luke and Tui Lolohea.

"I was a bit nervous", said Hiku. "I talked to Fozza (Foran) and he said you don't need to over think everything. He told me it will fall into place, especially behind our pack."

Hiku has steadily improved on tour. Last week in London was his most assured display yet. He was a threat with the ball in hand, twice going close to scoring and always looked to spark plays with offloads. His work rate was impressive, often leading the kick chase at the end of every set. But the most eye catching element of his game was the composure; the judicious, well-judged kicks that forced numerous repeat sets for the visitors in the second half and probably won them the game.

"The way I pictured it was not as good as it's been," said Hiku. "Before I came in I wasn't expecting to get one repeat set. Last weekend when I got my first one I was pretty rapt about it. Little things like that give you more confidence."

It's a big change from being stationed out on the wing - where Hiku had spent most of the 2015 NRL season.


"It's not an easy role to get used to - you can't just be chucked in there and expect to know how everything goes," said Hiku. "And trying to organize set plays and talk to everyone to get them organized, that was one of the hardest things. Usually, I'm on the wing, I don't really need to talk to anyone. [But] I'm enjoying it, and hopefully it doesn't finish here."

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