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Lost and found: The bizarre story behind Api Koroisau's premiership ring
05:51 am GMT+12, 14/10/2020, Australia

The last time Api Koroisau was this close to claiming a premiership ring it ended up in a Darwin drug den.
 
Penrith's preliminary final clash against South Sydney is the first time Koroisau has been back to a grand final qualifier since going all the way with the Rabbitohs in 2014.
 
Only for his commemorative title bling to go AWOL soon after.
 
While teammate Dylan Walker's ring wound up at the bottom of Sydney Harbour when it went overboard during a celebratory cruise, Koroisau's disappeared in 2015 and only resurfaced during a drug bust 18 months later in Darwin, when it was found by NT police when they raided the home of an alleged Rebels bikie member.
 
The $8000 ring turned up among a haul of steroids, methamphetamine and cannabis, with the new owner conceding in court that as a Rabbitohs fan he didn't know who it belonged to, but had hung on to the keepsake when it was given to him by a friend.
 
"A Darwin drug den, mate. I copped the judgment straight away," Koroisau laughed on Monday when reminded of the bizarre tale.
 
"People just ringing me from nowhere; 'Did you sell it? Were you having money problems?'
 
"I couldn't tell you how many times I got asked if that's what I'd done.
 
"The Bunnies boys, my old teammates, were just blasting me at the start. They gave Dylan Walker plenty for his too. They got plenty of mileage out of it.
 
"The last time I saw it I took it to an opening for a gym for one of my friends.
 
"I was asked to go along and I honestly don't remember seeing it after that. I honestly just lost it, thought it was floating around my car or something.
 
"I turned everything upside down. My car, my place, my mum's house. It didn't turn up. I didn't tell anyone but I wasn't too fussed either, just thinking 'it'll turn up'.
 
"And then I'm on Facebook and see the police post that a premiership ring had been found.
 
"I called Souths and they ended up tracking it down for me."
 
Koroisau was just 14 games into his NRL career when he was a member of the first Rabbitohs premiership-winning side in 43 years.
 
He hadn't played first grade for two months leading into the 30-6 win over Canterbury, but was called into the starting side when hooker Issac Luke was controversially suspended for a grade one dangerous throw on Sonny Bill Williams a week earlier.
 
Six years and 111 games on Koroisau hasn't been this deep in a finals series since.
 
But despite his status as one of the "old heads" in a youthful Panthers squad Koroisau is yet to remind his teammates how rarely title cracks can come around, and surprised he hasn’t felt the need to.
 
"I actually haven't had too much to say on the finals run, it's been pretty cool," he said.
 
"The vibe around the place is very calm but the intensity is still up there.
 
"It's been such a weird year and we've got some old heads too, no one's really been allowed to step out of line.
 
"No one's getting ahead of themselves. I thought it could happen just naturally with young fellas but our coaches, they pick apart our games and let us know we're certainly not perfect."
 
And if Penrith were to go all the way and wind up with the NRL's most cherished accessories?
 
"Put them away boys, don't take them anywhere," Koroisau offered.
 
"Mine's now in a safe at home, locked up with no chance of losing it again.".

SOURCE: NRL/PACNEWS


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