Manly's killer Kiwi connection
Thursday 17 January 2013 11:00 AM
Off the field they may seem like two quiet, unassuming Kiwi boys, but make no mistake: Ligi Sao and Peta Hiku are ready to rumble.
Two of Manly’s boom recruits for the 2013 season sat down with seaeagles.com.au this week to chat about their pre-season, revealing how a tough pre-season has set them up for a bumper 2013.
Sao, the more talkative of the two, said that the experienced Sea Eagles squad has made it very easy to settle in.
“They’re all helpful, all of the old guys talk to us (encourage us) from the back, guys like Snake (Brett Stewart),” Sao told seaeagles.com.au.
“It helps big-time, they’ve got a lot of games under their belt, with us new guys coming in they’ve helped us learn a lot.
“It’s a good place and a good environment.”
Want to know Ligi Sao's chances of an NRL start? Check out our forwards season preview here
Moving over from Auckland was a massive cultural change for the Kiwi boys, but Sao says that they’ve remained focused throughout.
“There’s six of us that stay in a house together, chill together and take time off so we don’t get homesick,” he said.
“It’s been good (having other young guys around), we still ring home regularly and talk to our parents.
“It’s a successful club here, everyone wants to be here due to their history and success.”
Both Sao and Hiku were stars in the Warriors’ NYC squad, but the step up to the NRL is something they’re both looking forward to.
“They’re longer days, but it’s more smart with their drills and training,” Sao said.
“(Geoff Toovey) is more technical, being smart on the field, reminding us about the little things.
“We have Brad (Arthur) and (David) Penna there as well, they’re good and they keep pushing us.
“Before we were playing NYC, we were playing in Fox (Memorial Trohpy in Auckland), that’s against men, bigger than us and older than us, so we’ll be alright against older blokes.”
Check out our chat with new Sea Eagles NYC coach David Heath
While he didn’t want to look too far ahead, Hiku said just making it to the start of the season would be a big step forward.
“The weather has made the pre-season extra hard for us,” Hiku said.
“Coming from New Zealand and the NYC it’s a big change, but it’s been a good one definitely.
Hopefully I can make it through pre-season injury free and be ready for Round One.”
The fullback also pointed to a couple of Sea Eagles’ stars to look up to as he strives for an NRL debut.
“I always liked Steve Matai growing up,” he said, “and playing in the same position as Brett Stewart, I’ve tried to learn a lot of him.”
“I try to stick around with the props, the guys in the middle, Kingy, Joey (Galuvao), because they’re all experienced guys,” Sao said.
“Like every other kid, that would be the main goal (NRL debut), but obviously doing well in NSW Cup as well.”