He has been confirmed by Wayne Bennett as the Brisbane Broncos’ half for the immediate future, but Kodi Nikorima says he has plenty of work to do before he can consider himself a true No.7 in the NRL.
The 23-year-old was last week handed the starting halfback spot after Bennett dropped Ben Hunt to the Queensland Cup, citing a lack of running game as the main reason.
With Maroons five-eighth Anthony Milford set to miss at least six weeks with a dislocated shoulder, Nikorima will be tasked with leading the Brisbane attack through the remainder of the State of Origin period.
“I was happy [with my performances at halfback], but still not satisfied, I feel like I have got a lot of improvement in that role, but without looking too far forward I just want to do a good job for the team this year,” Nikorima said.
— Triple M NRL (@TripleM_NRL) June 8, 2017
“It’s a role that I see myself in going forward and where I want to play.
“I think for me it’s solely about getting a good kicking game, every half needs that so that’s one thing I have definitely worked on and will continue to do moving forward.
“I have done a bit of with our kicking coach which has helped me out a lot during the pre-season and I won’t be stopping that anytime soon.”
After dropping the ball from the kick-off in last week’s eventual 24-18 victory over the Rabbitohs, Nikorima recovered well to set up Matt Gillett’s first-half try and run for 45 metres.
But the 2015 Kiwi international also had issues on the other side of the ball, missing six tackles and becoming a favourite target for Sam Burgess in attack.
Despite pulling Nikorima from the field on 56 minutes, in favour of veteran Kiwi Benji Marshall, Bennett insisted he was happy with his young half’s performance.
“I thought [Nikorima] went good, really good,” Bennett said.
“I didn’t have a plan, I had Benji on the bench and I was going to play him, so I didn’t have a definite plan for what I was going to do and what I wasn’t going to do.
Kodi Nikorima filling in for Ben Hunt superbly #NRLBroncosSouths
— Brendan Johnson (@the_red_heifer) June 9, 2017
“I was really happy with Kodi but I just wanted to give Benji some playing time.”
The fifth-placed Broncos have the bye this week before travelling away to face the Raiders in Round 16.
[YouTube – Corbyns lNrl]