By stuff.co.nz – Murray Wenzel
He insists he’s never short on confidence but Brisbane halfback Kodi Nikorima said the endorsement of New Zealand coach Michael Maguire has finally helped him feel at home in the Broncos No.7.
The nifty playmaker won best on ground honours for his role in Brisbane’s 50-18 flogging of Penrith on Friday night.
He combined well with halves partner Anthony Milford – often on the same side of the field – and iced the match with identical intercept tries in the second half.
There has generally been a state of flux around Nikorima’s role in the side, with the 24-year-old seemingly always trying to prove himself worthy.
But the Kiwi international insists he finally feels at home in the halves.
“Yeah, yep I do, I feel like I’m starting to come into my own now,” he said.
“To be honest, going in with the Kiwis, Madge (Maguire) helped me out a lot leadership-wise, put it all on me.
“I came out of my shell there and started to bring what I learned from him on that little tour (of the United States last month) back to the Broncs.
“He (Maguire) just said I’ve got the qualities of (Cooper) Cronk – he’s worked with those players, so to have someone of his calibre, to have that confidence in me really helped me out.”
Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett was satisfied with his halves’ efforts and maintained post-game it was the media, not him, who were often the most critical.
“Wayne believes in me too, but having that from another coach gave me that extra confidence,” Nikorima said.
“I’ve never doubted myself but now I’m starting to talk more.
“I was a bit quiet coming into the season, didn’t take it with two hands and that showed when I got benched.”
Nikorima was helped by his forwards’ barnstorming start, with Sam Thaiday and Tevita Pangai Jnr setting the platform.
“But for me and Milf it’s about learning to control a game when we’re not dominating,” Nikorima said.
“That’s where we probably lack a little bit.”