Api Koroisau in Wests Tigers captaincy twist after 'tasteless' dig at club

The new Tigers hooker took a dig at the club after winning the 2022 premiership with Penrith.

Api Koroisau, pictured here taking a dig at the Wests Tigers after winning the 2022 grand final with the Penrith Panthers.
Api Koroisau took a dig at the Wests Tigers after winning the 2022 grand final with the Penrith Panthers. Image: Getty/Twitter

Api Koroisau has been announced as the Wests Tigers captain for 2023, just months after taking what was described as a 'tasteless' jibe at his new club. Koroisau landed himself in hot water last year when he made disparaging remarks about the Tigers during the Penrith Panthers' premiership parade.

While discussing the Panthers' back-to-back grand final triumphs, the hooker jokingly said "and I'll probably do the same at the Tigers" before bursting out laughing. Tigers chairman Lee Hagipantelis later labelled Koroisau's jab 'tasteless', saying: “If he had his time again he might rethink those comments."

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Hagipantelis and club CEO Justin Pascoe contacted the Fiji international's manager Giancarlo Lombardo to discuss the situation. "As I understand it, Api is a thoroughly decent fellow and presents as such," Hagipantelis added.

"It was on the spur of the moment, emotions play a large part and perhaps some alcohol as well. We're not going to put a lot of stock into it and we're very keen on welcoming him to the club."

Despite the controversy it appears all is forgiven, with Koroisau appointed Tigers captain for the 2023 season on Monday. Koroisau insisted the comment had simply been a poor joke, and was hopeful his on-field skills would win over Tigers fans.

"To be asked to lead this team in my first year at the club, means a lot," he said on Monday. "This is a terrific group of players, and I am honoured to be their captain.

"From the moment I joined this club, my family and I have been made to feel so welcome. It's been a great start to my time as a Wests Tigers player and I look forward to helping this team and this club be the best it can be."

Api Koroisau, pictured here with wife Amy during his time at the Penrith Panthers.
Api Koroisau with wife Amy during his time at the Penrith Panthers. Image: Instagram/Getty

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Wests Tigers chief executive Justin Pascoe said: "In the short time he's been with us, Api has demonstrated and embraced our core values as a club. His leadership on the field is vitally important, as is what he does in other areas of our business. I think it's a tremendous appointment and I'm sure he will thrive with the added responsibility."

Koroisau's appointment will mark his first taste of solo captaincy at NRL level. It also comes after former coach Michael Maguire infamously appointed five captains at the start of the 2022 season in a 'leadership group'.

Adam Doueihi, Luke Brooks, and Ken Maumalo are all still with the Tigers, while James Tamou and Tyrone Peachey have since departed. "We have several very capable leaders in this team, and Api is one of them," new coach Tim Sheens said.

"He is very well respected within the group, and I know he'll do a great job. I congratulate him on earning the role.”

with AAP

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