Warriors centre Peta Hiku could find himself in reserve grade after a poor all-round performance saw him dragged from the field in their ugly 36-4 NRL defeat to Penrith.

The Kiwi international and former Panther endured a horrible Friday night out wide in his return to his old ground, with errors and defensive lapses costing his side dearly in the six-tries-to-one loss.

The 25-year-old Hiku's night began poorly when he made an error and conceded a penalty early on and things got worse when he failed to shut down rookie Penrith halfback Jarome Luai in the lead-up to their first four-pointer to wing Tyrone Phillips after half an hour.

Warriors supporters have a right to feel let down after powerful Penrith forward Viliame Kikau breezed through another passive grabbing effort from Hiku, who then gave up the chase as Phillips sent centre Waqa Blake in for the Panthers' third try in the 53rd minute.


Hiku was eventually pulled from the field, with bench backline utility Gerard Beale replacing him in the 66th minute, but Warriors coach Stephen Kearney was reluctant to single him out after a poor all-round team performance.

"That's an area of his game where he needs to be a lot more effective but I know he'll bounce back and I don't think he was by himself, let me put it that way," said Kearney.

The result conjured memories of last year's awful collapse at the same venue, with Penrith's hard-running forwards and playmakers again running riot on the fringes.

Warriors star halfback Shaun Johnson struggled to impose himself on the match and was also ineffective in assisting Hiku defensively in the lead-up to Kikau's 59th-minute try.

Kearney will weigh in the coming days whether to give Hiku a chance to redeem himself in Friday's crucial away match against the Broncos at Suncorp Stadium, or send him back to the Intrust Super Premiership to work on his game.

"It's a bit early to say," he said. "I'm not going to make that decision tonight. Peta has done a good job for a good part of the year and, like I said, he wasn't by himself.

"One bad performance, I'll have a good look at it but that's not a reason for chucking him out."

Meanwhile, the Warriors are relieved five-eighth Blake Green was able to finish the game after he twisted his right knee awkwardly in a tackle in the 34th minute.


"He just got a bit of a fright there when he got his leg caught up.

"Everyone else had pulled up okay. There's a few battered egos and sore pride. We've got a few bumps and bruises but we've got a pretty big turnaround now and it's really important we pick ourselves up and get stuck into it."