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Canterbury Bulldogs sign Penrith Panthers forward Villame Kikau


UPDATE: Bulldogs general manager Phil Gould has apologised to his old club after a leaked photo of Panthers forward Viliame Kikau in Canterbury gear was posted online.

Kikau has signed for the Bulldogs from 2023 onwards – although the signing is still yet to be made official by the club – but the way the transaction played out has raised eyebrows after the photo of Kikau alongside both Gould and coach Trent Barrett was leaked.

“I called [the Panthers] today to apologise for the inappropriate leaking of images, taken from security cameras, at Canterbury Leagues,” Gould said on Twitter.

“It was not our doing, nor ever our intention, for such images to become public. Out of our control. Apologies to Panther players, fans.”

It’s highly unusual for a player to be photographed in a new team’s colours while still being contracted elsewhere. Souths drew ire from rivals way back in 2007, when Craig Wing was paraded in front of banners saying ‘Welcome Home’ and posed for pictures with Russell Crowe after re-joining his boyhood club halfway through the season while still a Roosters player.

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“When Mark O’Meley left or Roy Asotasi left none of that sort of thing happened,” Wille Mason said on The Footy Show at the time.

“I would be filthy if Ogre (O’Meley) paraded himself like that around. If Ogre had of done that and gone through all that kind of garbage it would have caused a rift with the players.”

Kikau will reportedly join the Bulldogs from 2023 onwards.

After the photo was leaked, Nine’s Danny Weidler reported that the club has immediately launched an investigation.

The 26-year-old has been one of the most damaging runners in the competition in recent years, and is fresh off premership success with Penrith.

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He’s the latest star signing through the doors at Canterbury over the past 12 months, following on from Josh Addo-Carr, Matt Burton, Tevita Pangai Jr and plenty of others.

The timing of the leaked photo couldn’t be much worse, with the premiers due to participate in a street parade through Penrith tomorrow, with a fan event at their home stadium to follow.

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