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Hiku happy to make return against Warriors

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 12/05/2016 Daniel Gilhooly

Pita Hiku © Renee McKay/Getty Images Pita Hiku Nothing, it seems, can knock Peta Hiku of his stride.

A week ago he was ruled out the Kiwis Test against Australia.

And on Wednesday night he watched chaos descend on his Penrith Panthers team-mates in Christchurch as many of them experienced their first earthquake.

Hiku missed the impact of the 4.7 magnitude quake because he was driving but enjoyed the reaction when he returned to the team hotel.

"The boys were pretty shaken up about it, they were a bit worried," he said.

"But I suppose it's nothing new down here."

Hiku has recovered from the knee injury which sidelined him from the Test loss in Newcastle.

Disappointed not to play, Hiku said the silver lining was a rare week off from the grind of rugby league, leaving him fit and fresh to face the Warriors on Saturday.

"Missing the week was better for me long-term, I suppose," he said.

"Not just for my knee but my body in general, it was a lot of help for me, even it was tough watching the Kiwis go down."

Hiku is enjoying the camaraderie at seventh-placed Penrith, having no regrets at his choice of club after being shocked when Manly dispensed of his services late last year.

He had options at other Sydney clubs.

"Everything's been good, the fans have been good, the club's been very welcoming.

"The area's nice and I'm enjoying it out there."

He was delighted to learn the 18,000-capacity AMI Stadium has sold out, already justifying the Panthers' decision to move their home game to Christchurch. The city last hosted an NRL game in 2010.

Former Warriors under-20 player Hiku enjoys nothing more than lining up against players he knows well and knows there is plenty at stake with both teams sharing the same four win-five loss record.

"Playing against mates is always quite fun for me," he said.

"Winning the game seems to mean more when I'm playing against friends so I suppose that's something for me to drive for.

"It's something I can hold against them."

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