Sea Eagles hand Raiders big hiding
KIWI Peta Hiku gave Manly good reason to close negotiations on an upgraded contract by scoring four tries in his team's 54-18 annihilation of Canberra at Brookvale Oval yesterday.
The 21-year-old from Gisborne has at least two clubs circling for his signature, but is in discussions with Manly which eased its salary cap pressures by offloading Glenn Stewart to the Rabbitohs from next season during the week.
Hiku crossed for tries in the third, 23rd, 32nd and 57th minutes as the Sea Eagles made light of the slippery conditions to post the club's second biggest win over the hapless Raiders.
His manager Stan Martin flew from New Zealand last week for talks with Manly, while the Bulldogs are known to be extremely keen on luring him away from the beachside club.
Manly piled on nine tries, the second by captain Jamie Lyon who converted seven for a personal haul of 18 points. Named at five-eighth, Lyon played in the centres with youngster Jack Littlejohn making a nervous but promising debut alongside Daly Cherry-Evans in the halves.
The contest was well and truly over at half-time with the Sea Eagles heading to the sheds leading 42-4 after the most lopsided first half in years.
After three losses in their past four games, Raiders coach Ricky Stuart has been left with little choice but to make changes for next round's away game against the Warriors.
In yesterday's other game, the Titans bounced back from last week's narrow loss to Penrith to beat Wests Tigers 22-6 at Leichhardt Oval.