Kikau cleared for crucial Warriors clash after visa issue
24 August, 2018, 1:07 pm
SYDNEY,24 AUGUST 2018 (AAP) – Penrith powerhouse Viliame Kikau is a certainty to play in the club’s crucial NRL match against the Warriors on Friday after sorting out visa issues with Australian immigration authorities.
Kikau had been in doubt for the game after a visa bungle meant he risked being locked out of Australia had he travelled with the team to Auckland.
However, the Panthers confirmed on Tuesday that Kikau, who has a Fiji passport but has applied for Australian residency, has been cleared to fly with his team-mates on Wednesday.
Panthers boss Phil Gould said he had hoped to have the papers cleared on time.
“As of Friday, we’d ticked absolutely every box,” Gould said on the Nine Network’s 100% Footy.
“The last payment on his residency application was paid today and the receipts have been sent in. We’re trying to get it fast-tracked at the last minute.
“I don’t care if I have to fly him over on Friday. We need him in New Zealand for that game and he wants to be there.
“But we’re also mindful that he’s passionate about the Australian residency.”
Kikau’s inclusion is a huge boost for the fifth-placed Panthers, who face a major battle to claim an all-important top-four finish with just two games remaining.
The slumping outfit face the Warriors on the road before they round out the regular season with a road trip to face defending premiers Melbourne.