15 April, 2018, 12:00 am
He’s one of the biggest forwards in the Telstra Premiership but Viliame Kikau still feels like the little man each time he steps on to the paddock.
For all the size Kikau possesses, the Fijian international — who stands at 195cm and weighs in at 120kg — has worked overtime to fast-track his game after an inconsistent rookie year in 2017.
“I’ve had no time to run over players like I used to do in 20s,” Kikau told NRL.com.
“Teams are up in your face a lot quicker and I’m versing older men who are experienced.
“Playing 20s was a whole different story, the contact now and tactics in the game can take a while to get used to and last year was a big learning curve for me.”
Kikau was restricted to nine appearances last year and developed his game under former coach Garth Brennan in the Intrust Super Premiership — the man who will be out to find Kikau’s weaknesses today when the Titans arrive in town.
Some words of advice from Panthers teammates James Tamou, Trent Merrin and Peter Wallace have helped the 23-year-old find his feet in the opening five rounds of the season.
“If I had to put it down to one thing it’s his professionalism off the field has changed,” Tamou said of Kikau.
The Storm played with more freedom than previous weeks. The halves pairing of Jacks and Cameron Munster controlled the attack in a professional manner and wingers Suliasi Vunivalu and Josh Addo-Carr were the beneficiaries with four tries between them.
With Croft set to spend some time in Intrust Super Cup, Jacks is aware he has a chance to get an extended role in the Storm halfback jersey.
Ryley Jacks was determined not to over-complicate things in his return to the Melbourne Storm side for Friday night’s clash with the Newcastle Knights.
So he focused on just three things. “Kick well, tackle well and pass well,” he said.
“There was a lot of talk about the ‘seven jersey’ and things like that. So I just thought to do those three things well.
“And you’ve got Cam Smith and Billy Slater and all these guns around you, so why try and overdo it?”