Booming Broncos wary of spurned Nikorima
SENIOR Broncos are on alert for the spurned Kodi Nikorima to mount a mission to prove coach Anthony Seibold was wrong in Saturday's showdown in Auckland.
Warriors five-eighth Nikorima will be running on the same side of the field manned in defence by Tom Dearden, the Broncos halfback who Nikorima was told by Seibold would be preferred to him in 2020.
It set in train Nikorima's immediate transfer to the Warriors and three weeks after he fought back tears on full-time in the aftermath of his 86th and last game for the Broncos, he will oppose his old club at Mt Smart Stadium.
"Kodi had a good game again (in a win over Penrith on Friday) and I'm stoked for him,'' Nikorima's former halves colleague Anthony Milford said.
"He's on the other side (to me). He does play a lot of second receiver on both sides so our paths will cross at some stage and we know he's dangerous with the ball.''
Broncos skipper Darius Boyd said he had sent Nikorima a text message of congratulations on his debut game a week earlier, a win for his new club against St George Illawarra.
"It was sad to see him leave but that's rugby league - people come and go because of the salary cap and whatever else,'' Boyd said.
"We have won two in a row but we need to keep that rolling and we can't be complacent.''
When he joined the Warriors, Nikorima insisted he had no animosity against Seibold and rationalised that he was glad the Broncos coach had been "honest and upfront'' with him about his plans for Dearden in the halfback spot.
But footballers usually play with heightened motivation against ex-clubs to have shown them the door.
Nikorima's acceleration and direct running led to the Warriors' fourth try against Penrith and he will pick his time to run against Dearden and his Broncos colleagues on Brisbane's right edge.
"Everything Tommy has had thrown at him this year he's handled so I'm sure he can handle what comes next week,'' said Broncos hooker Jake Turpin.
"It will be good for Tommy to come up against Kodi.''
The Broncos and Warriors both have 4-6 records, with Brisbane hunting a first win away from Brisbane on Saturday after four losses on the road.
The Broncos set a standard they need to maintain in their 15-10 win over Sydney Roosters on Friday.
"I was so happy with our effort. We never died on a play,'' Milford said.
"We need back to back performances through the year.''
Brisbane's determined defence, including Gehemat Shibasaki's statistic that he made all 17 tackles he needed to make against the Roosters, and the precious win will silence for the time being calls for James Roberts to be recalled.
If Seibold makes no changes, as expected, to his team to play the Warriors, Roberts would need to play for Wynnum in the Intrust Super Cup this weekend as he would not have his next possible NRL match until June 9 due to a bye in the intervening round.
The out-of-favour Roberts has not played since May 2.