Viliame Kikau has channelled former US President Donald Trump, labelling recent speculation about his playing future as “fake news”.
Last week media reports suggested the reigning Dally M Second-Rower of the Year was in huge demand, with St George-Illawarra understood to be very keen to land the popular Fijian from 2023 onwards.
Kikau is signed with the Panthers until the end of next season, but the 26-year-old is expected to receive plenty of interest from rival clubs and rugby union when he comes on the open market from November 1.
Speaking for the first time about his contract status on Wednesday, Kikau said reports the Dragons are keen on his services are off the mark, especially considering they can’t legally tender a contract offer until November.
“I’m not sure where all the news is popping up from,” he admitted.
“All that stuff that happens behind the scenes, I just leave in my manager’s hands. I think that’s his job and that’s obviously why players pay their managers.
“I just want to make sure I perform well and I’ll let my performances do the talking and that’s about it. I think all this news is fake news.”
After spending the early part of his rugby league career in the Cowboys system, Kikau joined the Panthers in 2016 and made his NRL debut a year later against the Tigers in Campbelltown.
Nearly 100 first grade games later, the hulking back-rower has become a household name and one of the most destructive forwards in the competition.
Speaking with Weekender, Kikau said he’d love to remain at the Panthers long-term but understands that may not be possible due to salary cap restraints.
“I think, for me, that’s my first option,” he said.
“I love this club. This club gave me the opportunity to play on the big stage in the NRL. I made my debut here and I’d love to stay here for the rest of my career.
“But rugby league is a business; you just never know what will happen. But, for me, I’d love to stay at Penrith.”
While Kikau hopes to remain loyal to Penrith well into the future, it will be hard for him not to entertain other offers that come his way especially considering they will be far greater than what the Panthers are able to offer.
The Nausori product said presently he can’t envision himself speaking to other interested parties apart from the Panthers.
“Na… that’s probably my answer for now,” he said.
“I’m just focusing on the Panthers and everything I do is for the Panthers and trying to win a premiership. All the other stuff behind closed doors, that’s on my manager.”
Nathan Taylor is the Weekender’s Deputy Editor and Senior Sports Writer. He also compiles the weekly Chatter on the Box TV column. Nathan is an award-winning journalist, who has worked at the Weekender for a decade.