Penrith Panthers duo Apisai Koroisau and Viliame Kikau were named in the Dally M Team of the year after winning awards for their respective positions at the the annual Dally M Awards night on Wednesday.
Koroisau was named the hooker of the year, the first time he has won the award while Kikau is one of two second rowers of the year for the third consecutive year.
Kikau is only the second Fijian player who has won his positional award 3 years straight and is the first by any Fijian forward to have played in the NRL. Only Akuila Uate has won his positional award 3 straight years when he was awarded the winger of the year from 2010-2012.Embed from Getty Images
While Api Koroisau has been unlucky to miss out on the hooker of the year award since joining Penrith in 2020, he gets his just reward for an outstanding 2022 season. Over the past three seasons Koroisau would arguably be the most consistent dummy half in the competition.
Coach Mel Meninga is yet to finalise his squad and Koroisau would be a hard man to leave out. While Api sat on the bench last weekend against the Rabbitohs the Panthers were down 12-0. His injection into the match after 24 minutes proved to be a big turning point as 10 minutes later he scored the Panthers first try and got the 2021 Premiers back into the game. While he was on the field they scored 32 unanswered points.
Should Koroisau miss selection with Australia, the Fiji Bati will have the benefit of the tricky number 9s services.Embed from Getty Images
Both Koroisau (Tigers) and Kikau (Bulldogs) are leaving the foot of the mountains and will play their final match for the club in Sundays decider.
Special moment for Maika
Grand Final day will be extra special for Momi flyer Maika Sivo as he will be reunited with his parents after 3 long years. Covid restrictions and injuries have kept Maika from flying home but this Sunday Joeli and Mere will be in the stands to watch their son play on the NRL’s biggest day.
Ironically Sivo, Waqa Blake and Reagan Campbell-Gillard all started their careers at the Panthers and face off with their old club in their first Grand Final.Embed from Getty Images
Turuva named in State Championship match
The NRL State Championship is contested between the NSW Cup & Qld Cup Champions. It’s the first match on Grand Final day and this year Penrith’s NSW Cup side clash with Queensland Champions Norths Devils.
Penrith defeated the Bulldogs in their final last weekend 29-22 while Norths were 16-10 winners over the Dolphins. Sunia Turuva will start on the wing for the Panthers. He could have his second grand final win in 7 days.
A season to remember for the speedy fullback slash winger who is one of the hottest names not to be playing regular NRL. His emergence in 2022 as our most form back is putting serious pressure on Fiji Bati selectors in naming the strongest matchday 17 given long time skipper Kevin Naiqama is the incumbent.Embed from Getty Images
Centurions into Grand Final
Leigh Centurions are into the Betfred Championship final after demolishing the York City Knights 70-10 in their Semi Final. Former Gold Coast Titans and Salford Prop Ben Nakubuwai joined Leigh earlier this season after starting his season at the Norths Devils. He came off the bench in their huge win and will line up again this Sunday as they go head to head with the Batley Bulldogs for the title. The winner gains promotion to the Super League next season.
Tabu joins Whitehaven
Prop forward Lasarusa Tabu will not be returning to the French Elite 1 next season, leaving the Premiership winners Carcassonne XVIII for Championship club Whitehaven. Upon leaving the club Tabu posted on his instagram;
“It is with great regret that I am forced to deny my signing back with Carcassonne XIII for this upcoming season.
I would have signed back with great pleasure, but due to irreconcilable contract issues, it wasn’t possible.
Maybe some other time!
In any case, I am sending really good energy and positive vibes to all my team mates. I had such a great time playing along with you, and I would have loved to keep going some more. But it is what it is : KILL IT ONCE AGAIN FAM!!”
Whitehaven finished 10th in the Betfred Championship this season. The competition is also home to Fiji Bati utility back Sitiveni Moceidreke who plays with the London Broncos. They finished 11th this season with Moceidreke playing 23 games, scoring 6 tries and kicking 14 conversions.
Moceidreke and Nakubuwai are both expected to be in the final Fiji Bati World Cup squad.