Sam Thaiday has backed Kodi Nikorima to shine for Brisbane at halfback.Veteran Sam Thaiday reckons Kiwi international Kodi Nikorima isn’t given enough credit as Brisbane halfback and will be out to prove his critics wrong in 2018.
Thaiday didn’t mince his words after former Brisbane captain Gorden Tallis renewed calls for Broncos skipper Darius Boyd to switch from fullback to the halves this NRL season.
Tallis believed Boyd could extend his career and spark the Brisbane attack if he followed in Darren Lockyer’s footsteps and swapped his No.1 jersey for No.6 in 2018.
However, Thaiday said it was a slap in the face for Nikorima who will get first crack at the Broncos halves vacancy created by Ben Hunt’s lucrative off-season move to St George Illawarra.
Thaiday pointed to Nikorima’s record in the halves with Anthony Milford last year, saying it proved the pint-sized playmaker could step up for Brisbane.
Brisbane won 11 of 13 games with Nikorima starting at halfback in 2017 in Hunt’s injury enforced absence.
“He’s not given a lot of credit that he’s probably due but I’m sure he’ll want to get out there this year and prove a lot of people wrong,” Thaiday said of Nikorima.
“His record with Milf last year was great when Ben Hunt was out (injured) and I think he was one of the standout players for New Zealand (in Rugby League World Cup) as well at the end of the year.
“He’s been doing a fair bit of training out of that position throughout the pre-season and he’s been putting in the hard yards and a lot of hard work to make sure that he can secure that No.7 jersey.”
Nikorima will get his first chance to nail down the No.7 jersey in Brisbane’s NRL trial with Gold Coast Titans in Toowoomba on Saturday night.
He will play in the halves with Sam Scarlett after coach Wayne Bennett rested Milford.
Prop Thaiday has been named captain for the trial in the absence of Boyd (hamstring).
Former Queensland winger Corey Oates is on the Broncos bench as a backrower.