Nikorima still dreams of seven heaven
KODI Nikorima has declared he will not give up the fight for Brisbane's No. 7 jersey.
The Kiwi international, who lost the halfback role to Jack Bird two weeks ago, is determined to show Wayne Bennett why is a half and not a utility, claiming he does not want his entire NRL career to be played from the bench.
Nikorima was Bennett's first-choice replacement for former halfback Ben Hunt at the start of the year, but was demoted after an injury saw him miss Brisbane's shock win over the Warriors.
Given Bird and Anthony Milford had orchestrated the victory, Bennett felt he had no choice but to stick with the halves combination and make Nikorima a bench utility - a role he has played plenty of in his four-year NRL career.
But Nikorima said that is not the way he wants his career to continue and he will fight to win back his spot in the halves.
"I want to play in the halves," Nikorima said.
"I still see myself there. I'll keep learning.
"What I can take out of playing in the halves are my organisation skills which I thought had improved. It's really helped me when I am out there playing hooker (off the bench).
"I remember in the past, I left it up to Milf and Benny Hunt when he was here but now I've taken on the role where I'm one of the leaders in this group and they're looking to me to talk to them.
"I'm going to feed off that and hopefully continue that in my career."
Nikorima knows he faces an uphill battle after Bennett declared Bird had his best game in Brisbane colours against South Sydney on Thursday.
The 24-year-old could also prove to be his own worst enemy given the impact he has brought from the bench in the last two weeks.
He has proven to be a game-changer for the Broncos as an interchange player.
Nikorima said it definitely hurt when Bennett first approached him about moving to the bench, but he copped the news on the chin and wanted to show he was a team player.
"For a couple of hours (after Bennett spoke to him) it hurt but then I moved on pretty quickly," he said.
"I'm just happy to be playing footy and playing for the Broncos.
"I had a good heart-to-heart with Wayne. I was coming back from injury and obviously the boys had played well the week before that and he said, 'I'm going to bring you off the bench, I don't want to change what we've been doing'.
"I just took it as it is. I just love playing footy for this team. I want to play in the halves but I want to do a job anywhere I can for this group of men."