Lang on League: Koroisau makes Penrith a premiership threat

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Apisai Koroisau is not only the ‘Buy of the Year’, if his current purple patch of form continues for the remainder of the season, he will also be crowned NRL Hooker of the Year in October.

Going into Round 9, Api led the way in tackles made and metres run by a hooker. The real value of Koroisau however cannot be measured by statistics alone no matter how impressive the numbers are.

His addition to the Panthers’ team is probably the single biggest factor why Penrith are a top four team in 2020. Sure, his support cast are no mugs either. Halfback Nathan Cleary is in scintillating form while Viliame Kikau has been in ‘beast mode’ of late.

Take Api away however and I don’t think the Panthers are a chance of winning the Premiership in 2020. With him however they are a big chance. His show and go is sublime, the way he picks markers apart is uncanny and his ability to bamboozle the defence with deadly darting runs has to be seen to be believed.

Everybody is talking up young Tigers hooker Harry Grant and deservedly so, he’s a fine talent. But when the game was on the line last Saturday night at Bankwest Stadium it was Api Koroisau who came up with the winning play for the Panthers leaving young Harry behind to eat his dust.

What caught my eye last week…

It had to be the kiss delivered by Panthers coach Ivan Cleary to a salty Wests Tigers supporter after the game. It was good to see Ivan stick it to a disgruntled fan in such a humorous way. I thought comments made by ABC Grandstand commentator Matthew Elliott that Cleary shouldn’t have reacted in such a way was a bit rich. I seem to remember him holding up his necktie like a hangman’s noose during a press conference a few years ago.

Ivan Cleary blows a fan a kiss last weekend. Photo: Fox Sports.

What game I am looking forward to…

The Raiders’ game against the Storm should be a real ‘bobby dazzler!’. Canberra have had the wood over Melbourne recently, easily defeating them 22-6 in Round 3. The Storm showed even without Cameron Munster, that they’re a force to be reckoned with while the Raiders continue to improve.

My tips for the week…

Roosters, Titans, Bunnies, Panthers, Broncos, Storm, Eels, Dragons.

The final word…

There was nothing wrong with several Broncos players letting out some tears following their loss last week. You can’t be criticised for laughing after a defeat one week and then be chastised for showing too much emotion the next.

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