Naiqama signs with Panthers for 2014
Friday 21 June 2013 1:17 PM
Newcastle Knights utility Kevin Naiqama will leave the Club at the end of the 2013 season after signing a two-year contract with the Penrith Panthers.
The 24-year-old, who has played 12 games for the Knights since joining older brother Wes Naiqama at the Club in 2008, said leaving Newcastle would be tough but he is looking forward to taking the next step in his career.
“It was a difficult decision for me to make but I am excited for this next adventure and hopefully it is the right step to better my footy and make me a future first grader,” he told newcastleknights.com.au.
“Having Wes (Naiqama) there is a bonus and it has all worked out well.
“It is going to be hard to say goodbye to Newcastle, I was only 18 when I arrived here and I have found a new home here but I am excited about what the future holds.”
A backline of Darius Boyd, Akuila Uate and James McManus has limited Naiqama to three top grade appearances this season.
“We are really pleased that Kevin has been able to find a Club where he can play regular first grade football and move forward with his career,” CEO Matthew Gidley said.
“He has come through our system at the Club and spent a number of years with our coaches and our staff, which has enabled him to become the player he is.
"We hope that he can fulfil his potential by playing week-in, week-out in the NRL.
“We certainly wish Kevin all the best.”
Naiqama said while he is happy to have his future secured at the Panthers, his focus for the rest of the season remains with the Knights.
“The Club has given me a lot over the years and I am very thankful for that,” Naiqama added.
“My game has definitely progressed with their help and I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for them.
“There is still half of the season remaining and I am looking forward to doing all I can to help the Knights this season.”