Apisai Koroisau has spent time at hooker and in the halves for Penrith in 2015.

Penrith Panthers utility and former Souths hooker Apisai Koroisau has laughed off suggestions he is filthy with mentor Issac Luke after the experienced rake announced his decision to move back to New Zealand and play for the Warriors in 2016. 

With Koroisau, Luke and Cameron McInnes jostling for spots on the South Sydney roster last season, the grand final-winner left behind the lofty jubilation of premiership success to ply his trade at the foot of the mountains, only for Luke to announce his departure not even six months after his own.

When asked by NRL.com whether he has his regrets about leaving in light of Luke's announcement and the fact the off-contract McInnes is weighing up his options for next season too, Koroisau said he is content with his decision to don the black jersey for the next two years despite having James Segeyaro ahead of him.

"I've been pretty happy with myself here, I really love the club. I made my decision a long time ago and I haven't looked back since," Koroisau said.

"I thought it was pretty solid of South Sydney, obviously [Issac] made his decision for his family. I'll back him all the way and he's a good friend of mine so I'm pleased with the choices he has made. 

"I'm really happy for him, he's made that decision to go back home and be with his relatives so I wish him all the best and luck when he does finally go over there."

 

 

Admitting he still keeps in touch with Luke, Koroisau said he was grateful for everything the 27-year-old has ever given him including a helping hand when he made his NRL debut back in Round 4 last season – in place of Luke who watched on from the sidelines with a shoulder injury for nine weeks afterwards.

"As soon as I did get into the first grade squad [back at Souths] he told me to back myself because my ability will take me far," Koroisau said. 

 "All of his words to me have helped me out along the way and I feel I've been able to bring them over and use them here as well. I talk to him all the time still, we talk to each other - not really about footy - but just about how we're going.

"The amount of help he has given me over the past few years has been amazing and I wish I could repay him."

Despite moving to Penrith to carve himself a spot at hooker, Koroisau has been sharing his time between dummy-half and the halves so far.

With first-choice rake Segeyaro named to return from an elbow injury for this weekend's clash against the Sea Eagles, Koroisau is happy moving to the backline after being named at five-eighth to partner Jamie Soward.

"I'm not that fussed but obviously my preferred role would be hooker but I don't mind jumping into five-eighth as well. I've grown up playing there my whole life and anywhere in the team, to be in this first-grade squad, I'll take with both hands," Koroisau said. 

"[My immediate goal] is just to do the best I can in the meantime. We haven't got too many wins under our belt especially over the past few weeks so I'm hopeful we can do enough so when the injured blokes get back they can build on it."

"I was already uncertain of my future here and how I'd be playing in first grade but the start of the season has worked out pretty well for me. I have about six games under my belt this year so I'm pretty happy with that and hopefully I can continue this run."