Departing forward Viliame Kikau admits the prospect of leaving the Panthers has been made easier following confirmation Cameron Ciraldo will coach the Bulldogs from next season.
Kikau spoke for the first time on Monday since Ciraldo’s appointment at Canterbury was made official by the club for the next five years.
It caps an otherwise unsettling period for the Bulldogs recruit, who signed with Canterbury last November under Trent Barrett’s tenure before the former coach resigned in May.
Both Kikau and Ciraldo have been at Penrith for six and 10 seasons respectively with the pair now looking to give the premiers one last parting gift – back-to-back trophies – before teaming up at Belmore.
“Obviously I was happy about it,” Kikau said when asked of Ciraldo’s appointment.
“I like ‘Ciro’ as a coach. He’s taught me a lot of stuff since I got to Penrith. I’ve learned a lot.
“Some days he comes in and does so much of the talking and sometimes he’ll just leave it to the boys asking questions.
“It’s easier now with ‘Ciro’ going, he’s got a lot of stuff he’ll take with him.”
Kikau said since accepting the Bulldogs deal just weeks after the Panthers won the competition last year, it has allowed him to relish the final season in the club’s colours.
It’s also given him the added motivation to leave on his terms with the Fijian international playing in all but one game so far this season.
“Yeah I guess that (leaving on a high) was always there since the day I signed that deal with the Bulldogs,” Kikau said.
“Coming into this year, my main focus was to make the most of everything. I’ve known these boys for a really long time.
“Most of them are family. I’m trying to make the most of it and at the same time play my best footy.”
The Panthers forward hosed down suggestions he was in career-best form but believed he wasn’t far off as the side eye off another premiership after wrapping up top spot on the Telstra Premiership ladder last week.