Hiku happy to make NRL return v Warriors

Nothing, it seems, can knock Peta Hiku out of his stride.

A week ago, he was ruled out of New Zealand’s rugby league Test against Australia.

And on Wednesday night, he watched chaos descend on his Penrith teammates in Christchurch as many of them experienced their first earthquake.

Hiku missed the impact of the 4.7 magnitude quake because he was driving but enjoyed the reaction when he returned to the team hotel.

“The boys were pretty shaken up about it – they were a bit worried,” he said.

“But I suppose it’s nothing new down here.”

Hiku has recovered from the knee injury which had sidelined him from the Test loss in Newcastle.

Disappointed not to play, Hiku said the silver lining was a rare week off from the grind of the NRL, leaving him fit and fresh to face the Warriors on Saturday in Christchurch.

“Missing the week was better for me, long term, I suppose,” he said.

“Not just for my knee but my body in general – it was a lot of help for me, even if it was tough watching the Kiwis go down.”

Hiku is enjoying the camaraderie at seventh-placed Penrith, having no regrets at his choice of club after being shocked late last year when Manly dispensed of his services.

He had options at other Sydney clubs.

“Everything’s been good; the fans have been good; the club’s been very welcoming.

“The area’s nice and I’m enjoying it out there.”

He was delighted to learn the 18,000-capacity AMI Stadium had sold out, already justifying the Panthers’ decision to move their home game to Christchurch. The city last hosted a NRL game in 2010.

Former Warriors under-20 player Hiku enjoys nothing more than lining up against players he knows well and is well aware there is plenty at stake, with both teams sharing the same four win-five loss record.

“Playing against mates is always quite fun for me,” he said.

“Winning the game seems to mean more when I’m playing against friends so I suppose that’s something for me to drive for.

“It’s something I can hold against them.”

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