KNIGHTS recruit Siuatonga Likiliki has dedicated the Warriors' first premiership to his sick father.
Likiliki, who will arrive in Newcastle this month to begin a two-year contract with the Knights, scored a try and set up another with the critical play in the Warriors' 42-28 victory over South Sydney in the National Youth Cup (NYC) grand final at ANZ Stadium yesterday.
The 20-year-old game-breaker had the word "DAD" written in black texta on white tape around his left wrist as a tribute to his father, Ruben, who was in hospital in Auckland having tests and being treated for a mystery illness and missed his son's career highlight.
"I just called him before I ran on to the field," " Likiliki said.
"I hope he gets better soon."
Likiliki, a member of the National Youth Cup team of the year for the past two seasons, said winning a premiership was the best way to finish his career with the Warriors before joining the Knights.
Securing their first title in any grade since joining the then NSWRL premiership in 1995, the Warriors became the third straight non-Sydney team to secure the NYC, following Canberra's victory over Brisbane in the inaugural 2008 season and Melbourne's triumph over Wests Tigers last year.
"I wanted to play hard in my last game for the boys and I'll prepare for Newcastle next year but I'm excited for that," said Likiliki, who has played 50 NYC games for the Warriors in the past three seasons and made one NRL appearance, against Parramatta in August last year.
"I'm definitely looking forward to coming to Newcastle. It's exciting.
"It's part of the game. You end a good journey and start a new one."
The 183-centimetre, 96-kilogram outside back plays on the right edge for the Warriors but responded respectfully when asked whether he planned to unseat veteran Knights right centre Adam MacDougall, who signed a new one-year deal last Friday.
"Nah, I'll just try to learn off him, yeah," he said.
"I really look up to him."
Likiliki crashed through several defenders on a 15-metre run to score the Warriors' second try and his 19th this season and halfback Shaun Johnson's sideline conversion gave the trans-Tasman visitors a 12-0 lead after as many minutes.
South Sydney cut the deficit to 12-10 by half-time and looked like they had all the momentum early in the second half but a first-tackle handling error let the Warriors off the hook, and they responded with three converted tries in six minutes to take a 30-10 stranglehold.
Likiliki produced the play of the game in the 54th minute when he created the second of those three tries.
He beat six defenders on a stepping run then passed inside with his seventh try assist of the season to put fullback Glen Fisiiahi away to score.
"I didn't think about it or anything," Likiliki said.
"It just comes natural, eh.
"It was a surprising ball. I just got in there and did my thing.
"I wanted to play well for the boys in my last game."
National Youth Cup naming-rights sponsor Toyota said at half-time that they had extended their partnership for another two years until the end of 2012.