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Viliame Kikau has been identified as a “wake-up caller” by the Warriors, but the Kiwi club will throw their own heavy weapons in Friday’s game against the NRL against Penrith.
The power that runs around the edges is a decisive factor in the clash at Campbelltown Stadium, rookie Eliesa Katoa having appeared as an amazing discovery for the Warriors.
Katoa is a player with no “cap” according to teammate Tohu Harris, who has seen few 20-year-olds brag about the same mix of physique and desire.
The Tonga-based striker was the Warriors player of the game in their two losses before the lockout when he made big bumps at St George Illawarra in their 18-0 victory last week at Gosford.
“He’s a very hard-working kid, he always asks questions to try to improve,” said Harris.
“For someone who is rather calm and young, he does not like to lose things. If he is challenged, his first reaction is to try to take up this challenge.”
Katoa is a new version of Kikau, the Fijian international who terrorizes the defenses with his size and his footwork on the left edge of the Panthers.
Harris will line up directly in front of the 25-year-old, who recorded two line breaks and a try in last week’s 14-14 draw with Newcastle. “Defensively, we have to be much more urgent when the ball is near him,” said Harris. .
“It raises the alarm. The urgency of everyone in the line has to go up a level when players like him have the ball.”
However, Penrith and Kikau may have to be just as wary of Harris, who doesn’t have the same status as an impact player, but was the vanguard of the Warriors last week.
The second gangly rower celebrated his 150th game in the NRL with an impressive 182 meters and 43 tackles.
“I don’t know if I’ve done it before. If I did, I don’t remember,” said the former workhorse for the Melbourne Storm.