Full-time siren flight to Fiji: Kikau's 6750km dash for brother's wedding

A 6750km journey. Three missed flights. Another two made. Ubers. Taxis. Two mid-game vomits. And a best man speech well and truly worth the wait.

So went Viliame Kikau's latest visit to his brother Jope – the Penrith back-rower's lifelong inspiration, confined to a wheelchair by a spinal infection since the age of 19 – complete with a wedding dash for the ages.

Kikau's madcap four-day jaunt from Penrith to Fiji and back started the moment he ran off the paddock in last Friday's 24-2 win over the Gold Coast … in the 28th minute.

"I was crook all through the week," Kikau begins.

"I was vomiting and I didn't know if I was going to play.

"Our first set in defence I felt the rumbling and the horrible sounds, I was into our trainer about trying to get off because I was going to vomit.

"I eventually got off and went straight into the sheds. I vomited twice and stayed in there until half-time."

When Kikau came from the field again at full-time, he had Ivan Cleary's blessing to just keep running.

His older brother, Jope's bride-to-be Emele Sara, six siblings, parents and many of extended family members were waiting for Kikau in Suva.

Family flew in from all over the globe for the occasion, Kikau hitting the ground running as well in an Uber from Penrith to Sydney Domestic, minutes after his playing duties wrapped up.

Aiming for a 9.15pm flight to Brisbane and connection to Fiji that night.

"My partner [Brittany] watched only the first half because she had to head to the airport and check us in," Kikau says.

"I would've made my flight from Sydney to Brisbane but the flight that was going to take me to Fiji, they said that I was going to miss it."

Planes were changed, check-ins were required once more, with Kikau grounded in Sydney late on Friday night.

The 10am ceremony on Saturday a bridge too far. But the 5pm reception, still a goer.

So back to the airport at 4am and in the air before the sun was up.

"Obviously a lot of people know the bond that me and my brother have," Kikau says.

"I didn't want to miss his wedding day for the world.

"I called my brother straight away [on Friday night].

"I think he was [disappointed], but he didn't tell me. I could tell in his face, we were talking on video calling.

Viliame Kikau tries to make a break against the Titans.
Viliame Kikau tries to make a break against the Titans. ©Robb Cox/NRL Photos

"I could just tell in his face that he was a bit disappointed but we told him that we had tried everything.

"At the back end of the video call he told me that he was just happy that I was going to make it."

Not yet. Touch down in Nadi, but having missed their connection to Suva on the other side of the island with no further flights for the day.

Viliame Kikau with his family, celebrating his brother Jope's wedding in Fiji.
Viliame Kikau with his family, celebrating his brother Jope's wedding in Fiji. ©Kikau family collection

Another mad, three-hour dash around the island's south coast, arriving with just enough time to pull on a fantastically Fijian shirt and stun his family.

"I was really tired from playing the night before and all the travel on Saturday," Kikau says.

"But when I got there it just all went away. Just seeing all my siblings, we haven't met for a long time. I've got two of my sisters in Brisbane and two are in Europe.

"One of my sisters in Europe, we haven't seen each other for six years now.

"For all of us to be together at the wedding was just a special moment for all of our family, a big moment I think for my mum and my dad to see all seven of us enjoying each other's company after a really really long time."

And the man of the hour, Jope, who still jokes Viliame is living out his professional footy career?

I didn't want to miss his wedding day for the world.

Viliame Kikau

"He sort of slapped my head after we hugged," Kikau grins.

"He just said he was glad that I was there. He thanked me for doing everything I could to be there.

"It was really special. I had to do my best man's speech, which I struggled to get through.

"I was just trying to soak up everything to make sure I didn't cry in front of everyone.

"It was special to be there, to be able to deliver the best man speech and be at his wedding, to see him happy as well."