Manly's Api Koroisau is headed to Penrith in 2020. Picture: Brett Costello
Manly's Api Koroisau is headed to Penrith in 2020. Picture: Brett Costello

Panthers swoop to steal Koroisau from Bulldogs

PENRITH has swooped late to outbid Canterbury and sign Manly hooker Api Koroisau for three years.

The Bulldogs were preparing to put out a statement Thursday night saying they had signed Koroisau before Penrith made their move.

Koroisau also attracted real interest from Parramatta, Wests Tigers and New Zealand Warriors.

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The Sea Eagles hooker still has two years remaining on his current deal but has been cut loose by Manly.

It is understood Koroisau was allowed to leave Manly early so the club would stockpile some cash tor the Trbojevic brothers.

Young Manese Finau has emerged this year ensuring he will now be Manly's long-term hooker.

Penrith has outlaid around $1.5m for Koroisau's three-year season contract which will see the hooker rejoin Ivan Cleary at the Panthers in 2020.

The Sea Eagles cut Apisai Koroisau (L) loose to free up cash for Jake Trbojevic. Picture. Phil Hillyard
The Sea Eagles cut Apisai Koroisau (L) loose to free up cash for Jake Trbojevic. Picture. Phil Hillyard

Cleary confirmed the deal in a statement released on Friday.

"I'm thrilled that we've been able to bring Api back to the club," Panthers coach Ivan Cleary said.

"I had a high opinion of Api when I coached him previously and his game has only continued to develop in recent years.

"He's a man of good character and will provide valuable experience and leadership for our young squad moving forward."

It is believed the Bulldogs are also unlikely to get young centre Jesse Ramien.