Warriors centre Peta Kihu.

How Kearney's cold call finally brough Hiku to Warriors

Peta Hiku is finally the Mr Fix-It the Warriors had always intended him to be thanks to a cold call from Stephen Kearney, six years after the club's tardy decision-making cost them the junior star they never planned to lose.

Hiku has played every game of the Warriors' surprise run up the 2018 ladder since coming home from a brief stint at Warrington, filling in at five-eighth and fullback as well as his regular right-edge centre role.

A New Zealand jersey beckons in next week's Denver Test for the 25-year-old given his strong return to the Telstra Premiership, linking with the Kiwi franchise once more after Manly first poached him in 2012.

The Sea Eagles snuck under the Warriors' guard to lure their best under 20s talent across the ditch, with Hiku then knocking back a lucrative offer in 2014 to return to his junior club.

Not until a random New Zealand number flashed up on his phone in the UK last year did Hiku entertain a return to the Shaky Isles, and a conversation with the boss sealed his homecoming.

"I missed his first call and eventually decided to call him back, it was an NZ number so I had no idea who it was," Hiku told NRL.com.

"I was in the apartment on my own, Mooks [Kearney] sold it to me and it didn't take much thought at all, to be honest.

"It was the relocating that ended up being a headache. My partner went through everything to get our stuff shipped over there, and then she would've had to go through everything straight away again to get it shipped back. That was the only discussion there, if she wanted to deal with that stress again.

"My boxes hadn't even arrived by the time I made the call. And then when I turned around to come back to NZ they still weren't there to meet me.

"Eventually they landed, stayed in the cargo and then swung around to come back with me. My missus organised all that and looked after me."

Hiku is back in Auckland via the Super League, having been a casualty of salary cap manoeuvrings first at Manly in late 2015, and then again at Penrith 18 months later.

When he was barely out of his teens it was the Warriors who were burned by the game's constant contract shuffling, tabling an offer that would've kept him at the club if only it had come before the Manly deal.

Soon enough Hiku was a Kiwi international and playing a key role in Manly's run to a grand final, before eventually finding his way back to the Warriors, this time for the long haul.

"I don't regret the decisions I've made or anything like that but growing up in New Zealand I always wanted to play for the Warriors, it's just taken a little bit of time," Hiku said.

"I was just out of 20s when I left. The club had a deal in the end, it was a NSW Cup contract at the time and they upgraded it later but by that point I had agreed to join Manly.

"It was pretty complicated for me back then as a young fella.

"Then later on [when the Warriors came calling in 2014] I was just happy at Manly at that point, I had plenty to still learn off of all of those great players there at the time and it opened my eyes to how they went about their game.

"But everything happens for a reason, even being moved on with the salary cap stuff at Penrith –  especially as I was coming back from injury then, it wasn't a fun experience. Now I'm here at the Warriors and I'm very happy here."