Panthers' Kikau feared worst after NRL hit

Matt Encarnacion
Penrith's Viliame Kikau nurses the injured right shoulder he thought spelled the end of his season

Viliame Kikau admits fearing his season was over minutes into Penrith's season-opening upset of the Sydney Roosters, and this time coronavirus was not to blame.

Kikau appeared to have seriously damaged his shoulder after his attempted pass out of dummy-half on Saturday barely made it to halfback Nathan Cleary.

It came moments after Kikau careered out of a heavy collision with Roosters big man Sio Siua Taukeiaho midway through the first half.

"I heard a cracking sound," Kikau said on Monday.

"It was weird. I thought I was gone because the next play I went to play hooker and I just couldn't pass the ball. I couldn't feel my arm."

Panthers' trainers immediately rushed onto the field before wrapping Kikau's right arm in a makeshift sling and heading up the tunnel.

However, the Fijian powerhouse appeared on the bench after halftime, with officials later explaining he had merely suffered a stinger.

The second-rower went on to score a decisive try off a Cleary offload that broke what had been up until then a spirited Roosters defence.

"I've had a stinger before, but not that bad. That was the biggest stinger I've had playing footy," Kikau said.

"I just tried to get on the field as soon as I could because I started on the bench and I didn't play that long in that first half. I just went out there (and) scored a try.

"Clez did all the job and I just had to put it down."

Kikau's return was a massive relief for Penrith fans and coach Ivan Cleary, with the 24-year-old a key weapon on the Panthers' left edge.

And while the coronavirus continues to leave a dark cloud over the season, the upset of the back-to-back reigning premiers was the perfect start to Penrith's year.

"It was great to beat the best team in the world. They won the comp and won the World Club (Challenge), as everyone knows," Kikau said.

"It's a good way to start the season.

"That's what the biggest change was from last year - the boys were really calm and upbeat, all the senior boys were saying to complete our sets, hang in there."