Premiership over Origin for Panthers' No.9

In-form Penrith hooker Api Koroisau says an NRL premiership would matter more to him than an end-of-season State of Origin call-up for NSW.

APISAI KOROISAU of the Sea Eagles in action during the NRL match between the New Zealand Warriors and the Manly Sea Eagles at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland, New Zealand.
APISAI KOROISAU of the Sea Eagles in action during the NRL match between the New Zealand Warriors and the Manly Sea Eagles at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland, New Zealand. Picture: Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images

NRL premiership or a State of Origin call-up?

For Penrith hooker Api Koroisau there's no debate.

The 27-year-old has been a key part of the Panthers' fantastic 2020 campaign, as last Friday's 20-2 win over Parramatta secured a top-two finish and extended the club's winning run to 13 games.

Koroisau is firmly in the frame to be named by NSW coach Brad Fittler for this year's State of Origin series in November, particularly with an extended squad to be picked for the three-game campaign.

It's talk that Koroisau isn't letting himself get too caught up in, admitting the pursuit of representative honours has distracted him from his club tasks in the past.

"Back in 2017 or 18, I might have been thinking about it a bit too much," the former South Sydney and Manly No.9 said.

"I don't know if that had anything to do with the form but as I've gotten older I've sort of come to understand that the premiership is what it's all about.

"If I could choose to have a State of Origin win or a premiership, I'd pick the premiership every day of the week."

Having won a grand final in his debut NRL season in 2014 with the Rabbitohs, Koroisau is one of the few members of Nathan Cleary's Panthers team to have tasted success at the highest level.

Despite concerns more experienced contenders such as the Sydney Roosters and the Melbourne Storm have an edge in terms of big-game exposure, Koroisau believes the only limit on Penrith's ambition in 2020 is what they set on themselves.

"We've proved we can play the footy. We've proved we can do everything on the field," he said.

"It'll be between the ears from here on in."