SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 02: Viliame Kikau of the Panthers offloads the ball to Apisai Koroisau of the Panthers during the round 16 NRL match between the Penrith Panthers and the Parramatta Eels at BlueBet Stadium on July 02, 2021, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Penrith Panthers star Viliame Kikau has opened up on his frustration surrounding the departure of former Canterbury Bulldogs head coach Trent Barrett, the team that Kikau has signed with for next season, claiming that Barrett was the main reason he decided to sign with the Bulldogs.

Kikau has signed a four-year deal with the Bulldogs worth $3.2 million starting next season, but has expressed his disappointment that Barrett won't be at the club.

Barrett was assistant to Ivan Cleary at Penrith during the 2020 season, a time in which Kikau enjoyed Barrett's guidance, and led to Kikau's signing at Belmore.

Kikau has now opened up about his disappointment at Barrett's departure.

"I sent Baz a message a few days after that happened, and I wanted to check up on him," Kikau told The Sydney Morning Herald.

"He said he was all good. I always loved being coached under Baz when he was here. I really enjoyed it.

"When he went there [to Canterbury], he was the main reason why I went there. He’s not there now.

"[With] some coaches, you just know you communicate with them, you know you can trust them, and they trust you, too. That was the feeling I got with him."

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The second-rower has played every game this season, scoring six tries as part of a side that currently has no injuries with a full squad to pick from and only one loss to their name through 14 games, so the Panthers and Kikau are going well at the moment.

The Panthers travel to New Zealand to face the Warriors this round to try and make it 14 from 15 to start the season, a feat that no team has done in the past decade.


  1. If Trent Barrett being the coach was the main attraction of going to the Dogs, then Kikau should have had his manager negotiate a clause that said if Barrett should be sacked (or resign) before October 1 2022, then Kikau had the option of declaring his contract with Canterbury null and void.

    As with the seeming failure of the manager to protect the interests of his client in the Joey-Leilua-quits-Wests-for-the-Cows-only-to-find-they-have-no-money, shambles, it looks like another example of a manager who has let down his customer, the player.

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