Parra's Manly connection wants Hiku on board
A pair of former Sea Eagles now wearing blue and gold have been in the ear of unwanted Manly outside back Peta Hiku, hoping he becomes the latest in a long line of players making a procession from the northern beaches to Parramatta.
Hiku – reportedly free to look for another club despite having two years to run on his Sea Eagles deal – is a current New Zealand international and would be a good fit for any number of clubs looking for a strike outside back.
Those include clubs who have recently parted ways with a high profile centre such as Penrith (Jamal Idris), Parramatta (Will Hopoate) and the Gold Coast (James Roberts) while the Dragons and Sharks could also benefit from a versatile outside back of Hiku's calibre. According to News Ltd reports the Eels, Dragons and Panthers have each tabled Hiku a formal offer.
Speaking at the launch of the 2016 Auckland Nines at Dick Smith's CBD store on George St on Tuesday morning, Parramatta's Watmough revealed he and new recruit Kieran Foran – who both played with Hiku at Manly – had each had a word to the 23-year-old about considering Parramatta for his next deal.
"I think Foz has [been telling him] a bit," Watmough said.
"I asked [Foran] and he said 'yeah I've been messaging him and telling him'. I bumped into [Hiku] on Saturday and he thought the drive was three hours and I said to him it's only 40 minutes because he lives next to me.
"I said to him it's only 40 minutes so hopefully that's the icing on the cake that he needs to move on and get over there."
Asked about how Hiku might make the commute, Watmough laughed: "He's got no idea. He's not going in my car – he can go with Foz!"
One factor in Parramatta's favour is the host of familiar names that would be on hand to greet Hiku if he does join the Eels with new recruits Clint Gutherson and James Hasson having played alongside him last year with Foran, while Hiku was also coached by Eels mentor Brad Arthur when the latter was a Manly assistant under Geoff Toovey.