Penrith is losing two star players next season and one of them is quickly realising the grass won’t be greener away from the two-time reigning premiers.
The Panthers dominated Parramatta 28-12 in Sunday’s NRL Grand Final to claim back-to-back premierships in emphatic fashion.
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But the victory was a bittersweet occasion for forward Viliame Kikau and hooker Api Koroisau, who will next year join the Bulldogs and Wests Tigers, respectively.
Kikau was in tears on the field as he came to terms with having played his final game for Penrith.
Koroisau, considered one of the best hookers in the NRL, claimed his third premiership following consecutive titles with the Panthers and his first triumph with the Rabbitohs in 2014.
The 29-year-old was showing off his three premiership rings during post-game celebrations on the field when he copped a cheeky sledge.
In a video posted to social media, someone was heard telling Koroisau: “Last ones, don’t get those at the Tigers.”
Koroisau is joining the Tigers on a two-year deal and appeared to be regretting his decision when Penrith’s celebrations continued on Monday.
He was asked on stage at Panthers Stadium how he felt about leaving to join the Tigers, who haven’t made finals since 2011.
“This place has been incredible the last three years I’ve been here. It’s turned into a family for me,” Koroisau said.
“There’s so much young talent. To go out on a high like that, it’s pretty incredible, and I’ll probably do the same thing at the Tigers,” he added sarcastically, before breaking into a fit of giggles.
After the victory, Penrith coach Ivan Cleary confessed the club wouldn’t be able to replace Koroisau.
“He makes people feel good, everybody plays better when he’s out there and he’s had an incredible season,” he said.
“We won’t be able to replace him.”
Having won 67 of their last 78 NRL matches, the Panthers are already being touted as favourites to clinch next year’s premiership and become the first club to achieve the feat in 40 years.
“We just take it one day at a time,” Cleary said.
“I don’t give a s*** about next year, we’ll enjoy tonight.
“It’s been an unbelievable season for our club. It’s never been done before, four grades.
“It’s hard to put it into words other than to say how proud we all are.
“Our club is very aligned. Everybody is their own person but we are all woven together by a common thread of trying to do our best for the club.”
Originally published as Departing Panthers premiership star Api Koroisau taunts Wests Tigers