Warriors centre Peta Hiku was pleased he could get one back on his former Penrith side and celebrate his 100th NRL appearance in Friday's stunning 36-16 NRL win at Mt Smart Stadium.

Hiku went a long way to redeeming himself in his first starting appearance in six weeks as a replacement for injured centre Gerard Beale (hamstring), following a poor defensive display in the Warriors embarrassing round 17 defeat at Penrith.

The 25-year-old's silky skills helped to create two tries for wing partner David Fusitu'a and together with halfback Shaun Johnson did well defensively to contain rampaging Panthers forward Viliame Kikau and dangerous centre Waqa Blake.

A modest Hiku was pleased with his effort among a strong all-round team performance but said it wasn't enough for him to forget his horror night at Panthers Stadium.

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"No, they got me a beauty the first time so I don't really feel satisfied about how it was done," he said.

"As a milestone game it felt like I was debuting again and it was a match that was tough to mentally prepare for especially after how we played them the last time.

"But we got the win over them which was great for us as a club and to get it in my 100th game and against my former club was good."

David Fusitua celebrates his try with Peta Hiku and Shaun Johnson. Photo / Photosport
David Fusitua celebrates his try with Peta Hiku and Shaun Johnson. Photo / Photosport

Coach Stephen Kearney praised Hiku's cool temperament and ability to overcome disappointments and was pleased he could enjoy the occasion after making a strong contribution to the win.

"Pet, after his last performance against [Penrith], he was getting ready for them to come down [his edge] but again that's Pet's quality," said Kearney.

"He bounced back pretty quickly and nothing fazes him too much. He did a wonderful job for us and played his 100th NRL game tonight.

"His dad came and presented him with the jumper yesterday and his dad reminded us all of why we play the game and it was about having fun and having a smile on your face when you do it and Pet certainly does that.

"I was just very pleased that it was a good night for him."

Hiku's form along with that of impressive fill-in five-eighth Mason Lino gives the Warriors some room to move with how they might handle Beale's return to action along with that of injured playmaker Blake Green (calf strain).

Kearney may be tempted to stick with the same side for next Friday's final round match against Canberra and give the injured pair another week to recover ahead of week one of the finals.

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"We've done a pretty good job of that all year in terms of guys competing for spots and it's a good issue to have," he said.