Hiku on the move to foot of the mountains

Manly are expected to announce the signing of Dylan Walker in the coming days after releasing Peta Hiku to Penrith.

New Zealand international Hiku signed a three-year deal, filling the void left at the foot of the mountains by the departure of Jamal Idris.

The 23-year-old was granted a release from the final two years of his Sea Eagles contract to take up a deal reportedly worth more than $1 million.

Hiku had attracted interest from Parramatta and St George Illawarra but was lured to Penrith because of their willingness to offer him a three-year deal.

He is a strong addition to the Panthers backline also featuring Matt Moylan, Dean Whare, Josh Mansour and Dallin Watene-Zelezniak with general manager Phil Gould saying the club was fortunate to snare him at such a late stage in the year.

“He will perfectly complement the emerging young players we have here at Panthers,” Gould said.

“The fact that Peta, at a young age, has forced his way into that tremendous Manly backline and has performed so well on the international stage for the Kiwis is indicative of his tremendous ability.

“At 23 years of age, he obviously has the best of his career in front of him and we are excited he is going to be a Panther for the next three years.”

Despite having a strong 2015, Hiku was told he was unwanted under new coach Manly coach Trent Barrett, who has overhauled the club’s playing roster, bringing in Nate Myles, Martin Taupau, Lewis Brown, Darcy Lussick and Api Koroisau.

Hiku is a versatile addition to the Panthers backline having played at centre and wing for the Sea Eagles this year and at five-eighth for the Kiwis on their end-of-season tour of England.

“Peta has been a consistent performer at NRL level for the Sea Eagles over a number of seasons and has also represented his country with distinction,” Manly chief executive Joe Kelly said.

“He is a wonderful young man and has a very bright NRL career ahead of him.”

The NRL off-season musical chairs is expected to continue in the coming days with Walker, who was granted a release by South Sydney following the prescription drugs scandal, expected to announce his shift to Manly.

Fellow three-quarters James Roberts and Tim Lafai are still on the open market.

Roberts knocked back a contract extension from the Gold Coast – in the wake of the contract forgery saga – and is being targeted by Brisbane and former club South Sydney.

Lafai departed Canterbury to make way for Will Hopoate and has been linked with Gold Coast, St George Illawarra and Warriors.

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