Kodi faces fight as Broncos launch raid for Rooster
KODI Nikorima has declared he is ready to fight to be Brisbane's long-term halfback as the Broncos launched a poaching bid for Cooper Cronk's successor at the Roosters.
The Broncos have targeted Sydney Roosters young gun Sean O'Sullivan as a back-up plan for Nikorima next year.
Nikorima produced arguably the best performance of his season with a two-try effort in Brisbane's 50-18 thumping of Penrith last Friday night.
But the Kiwi international has struggled to consistently put his stamp on the coveted Broncos No.7 jersey this year following Queensland Origin star Ben Hunt's move to the Dragons.
Nikorima, 24, was briefly demoted to the bench earlier this season as coach Wayne Bennett searched for the answer to his playmaking conundrum and the Broncos are looking to beef-up their halfback stocks by making an offer to O'Sullivan.
The 19-year-old O'Sullivan is a former Australian Schoolboys halfback who is being tutored by Maroons and Kangaroos legend Cronk at the Roosters.
But Nikorima is not ready to give up his spot without a fight, declaring he is a vastly improved player who can succeed in the Broncos No. 7 jersey made famous by Allan Langer.
"I never doubted myself," Nikorima said.
"I've always been a confidence player but now I'm starting to really stand out and talk more.
"I was a bit quiet coming into the season and didn't take it with two hands. That showed with me getting benched earlier in the year.
"I'm starting to come into my own now. I want to make it my own."
The Broncos have been devoid of back-up options for Nikorima and five-eighth Anthony Milford this season, a predicament Bennett does not want to find himself in next season.
Nikorima and Milford are dangerous attacking weapons, but the Broncos lack game management at times, a quality the youthful O'Sullivan has shown.
Nikorima ran for 121m and set up two tries against Penrith and said a 13,000km flight to Denver in the United States to represent New Zealand last month provided him with the injection of confidence he needed to pilot Brisbane's premiership charge.
"I feel like I'm starting to come into my own," he said.
"Going into the Kiwis, Madge (coach Michael Maguire) helped me out a lot leadership wise. He put it all on me.
"I came out of my shell there and I'm starting to bring what I learnt from him and that tour to the Broncos.
"He said to me I've got the qualities of Cronk.
"He's worked with those players. To have someone of his calibre - he's won premierships and done it all - have that confidence in me really helped me.
"Wayne believes in me too but having that from another coach really gave me the extra confidence and motivation to want to do that coming back to the Broncos."
Nikorima will start at halfback in Brisbane's blockbuster clash with Cronulla at Suncorp Stadium on Thursday night.