You have skipped the navigation, tab for page content
Peta Hiku has been named to start at five-eighth for New Zealand.

Having walked the same Northern Beaches path as new Panthers teammate Peta Hiku, Dean Whare is ready to carve out one of the competition's best centre partnerships with the Penrith recruit in 2016.

Thrown around the Sea Eagles' outside backs as utility players in both their times at Manly, Whare is hopeful the consistency the Panthers has since afforded him will be provided to his new teammate.

Representing the Kiwis together since 2014 including New Zealand's recent tour in England, Whare said Hiku's 'Mr Fix-It' ways may be behind him in the NRL.

"He wants to cement a centre position, that's what he wants to do. For the Kiwis he's played fullback, wing and centre, and on the last tour he played in the halves so he's been all over the place and he wants to cement the one position," Whare said.

"I was an interchange player over [at Manly] and wasn't getting as good a run as I hoped. When I left the Sea Eagles Peta came in and did exactly what I was doing when I left.  It's a great opportunity here for him."

With the World Cup approaching and with fullback Matt Moylan and winger Dallin Watene-Zelezniak genuine chances of making their international debuts within the next two years Penrith could possess one of the best backlines in the competition. 

"I don't know how long we can all stay together with salary cap restrictions these days but hopefully it can happen like that, and it'll be a strong point for the team to have," Whare said.

"It would be pretty awesome to have [Hiku, Watene-Zelezniak and I] all playing for the Kiwis in pretty important positions out the back. 

"Dallin's been unlucky over the past two or three times we've played through injury and suspension so he'll get a spot there one day. He's only young and he has plenty of time."

Meanwhile Whare appears happy with how new coach Anthony Griffin has handled himself in his first pre-season with the club.

With Whare only returning to training in the New Year after earning a break following the Kiwis' tour, Griffin's arrival has since numbed the shock of Ivan Cleary's sacking. 

"I met him before Christmas before I came back to training and the boys said he had been going well and that it was a massive change from Ivan Cleary's way of coaching and tactics," Whare said.

"But the boys are used to it now and they're enjoying it. It was a bit of a shock [Ivan's sacking] but that's what the club has planned to do and we just have to trust and have faith in what they say.

"Compared to last year where we had four or five having surgery and another lot in rehab, having one or two players in rehab now and a full squad training together has been good too."

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

Premier Partner

Media Partners

Major Partners

View All Partners