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The promise of a permanent spot in the halves was the key factor in Kodi Nikorima deciding to seek an immediate release from Brisbane and join the New Zealand Warriors.
The Warriors announced the signing of Nikorima through until the end of 2021 on Friday, with the 25-year-old expected to debut for his new club against the Dragons during the NRL’s Magic Round at Suncorp Stadium in round nine on Saturday.
Nikorima said the Broncos made it clear they saw teenager Thomas Dearden as their long-term halfback, at which point the positional security on offer at the Warriors became too good to turn down.
“[Brisbane] were pretty up front and honest in saying that Tom was probably their future half there,” Nikorima said.
“The Warriors came to me and said that they want me to play in the halves here … in the end it was the best decision for myself.
“At the end of the day it was just the fact that there’s a lot of security here, there’s a future for myself in a position that I want to play.
“The Broncos couldn’t offer me anything like that. I could have waited until the end of the year, but that contract that was on offer [from the Warriors] might not have become available then.
“I am grateful for the opportunity that [Brisbane] have given me [by releasing] me right now, and excited about the new journey and new chapter ahead.”
Nikorima said the Kiwi connection at the Warriors was also a crucial factor in his decision to sign with the Auckland-based club.
He was given his Test debut for the Kiwis by now Warriors coach Stephen Kearney in 2015, and he has strong relationships with a number of the squad through time together in camp with New Zealand.
“Knowing Roger [Tuivasa-Sheck] and Issac Luke, who form part of the spine too will definitely help me in transferring from the Broncos into the Warriors’ system,” Nikorima said.
“And also having that relationship with Steve Kearney should help as well.
“That played a big part too. I have had a pretty good relationship with Mooks [Kearney], we have kept in touch over the years and I am really excited to play under him again.”
Nikorima also revealed he and future halves partner Blake Green had already held discussions about the roles they will play in the side, with Nikorima at pains to insist he wouldn’t be attempting to emulate Shaun Johnson’s style.
“I just spoke to Blake briefly before his game [against the Knights] and he sort of said that he wants me playing both sides and just playing off him, I guess playing more of that six role,” Nikorima said.
“Things aren’t going to click straight away … it might take time.
“I don’t really see it as replacing Shaun. What Shaun’s done here has been incredible and I don’t want to compare myself to him, nor will I compare myself to the past players like Stacey Jones.
“I have come here to be who I am. I’m Kodi Nikorima, I’m no one else and I won’t ever try and be anyone else.”