Hiku relishing week-to-week challenge
Stand in Sea Eagles fullback Peta Hiku says he is happy to play fill-in for now, despite not knowing when a player returning from the casualty word could mean his role changes or he loses his spot in the first grade side.
Hiku went into Round 1 on the wing with both Jorge Taufua and David Williams unavailable, but spent the second half of that match against Melbourne at fullback after first choice custodian Brett Stewart went down with a hamstring injury.
Despite having a tough night at the back as the side capitulated from 20-nil up to lose 23-22 in golden point extra time, Hiku started at fullback in Round 2, putting in a much-improved performance. He will line up there again today with Stewart still unavailable.
However with both Stewart and Taufua due back in the next few weeks the talented 22-year-old is likely to find himself once again biding his time in NSW Cup until injury or representative call-ups once again open up a spot in the star-studded Sea Eagles backline.
"Yeah it is tough [not knowing when you'll lose your spot," Hiku told NRL.com during the week.
"You want to play NRL, then again you don't know when they're [Stewart and Taufua] coming back in, who's going to be out."
Despite the challenges of preparing for different positions on the field and potentially losing his spot when the side is back to full strength, he said he didn't mind performing the fill-in role.
"It's only my second year in the NRL so I'm really enjoying it," he said.
Looking back on a tough night at Broovale in Round 1, where his impressive 140 running metres was counteracted by a number of handling errors, Hiku admits he wasn't prepared to play at the back.
"Yeah it was tough, because in pre-season I wasn't training at fullback, I was playing as a centre and a winger and it came out of nowhere, at halftime they told me to jump in at fullback," he said.
"For a moment there I forgot how to play it – but everything came back over the week training, last week into this it just came back so it was sweet."
He said he was happy with his improved performance in the 14-12 win against the Rabbitohs, which included a number of tackle breaks and offloads to go with 147 running metres in an error-free performance.
"Yeah real happy [with the improvement], especially coming off what I had against the first round I suppose, the first round was a bit dusty, I didn't know what to expect," he said.
"It was my first time playing in the first round of the NRL but in the second round all the boys just told me to get it together, everyone was helping me out."
Hiku said if anything his preferred position would be centre down the track but for now he's just happy to be in first grade.
"I just want to stick to first grade as much as I can and do what I can for the team," he said.