Nikorima: ‘I’m loving it’

Published 3:00pm 31 May 2023

Nikorima: ‘I’m loving it’
Words by Kylie Knight

Dolphins NRL fullback and ‘Mr Reliable’ Kodi Nikorima has happily stepped into a number of positions this year, something he says he’s done his whole playing career.

He’s found good form, confidence and a squad he can count on at Redcliffe this season and has the confidence of Super Coach Wayne Bennett.

Nikorima spoke to the media as he prepares to take on his old club, the Warriors, in New Zealand on Saturday (kick-off 3pm).

He’s looking forward to returning to New Zealand, after an absence of about four years, to face his former club and reunite with extended family.

“I only played them once last year … the other game I was ruled out due to injury. It’s always nice when you play your former team. The feeling after the game, if you do get the win, is more special coming up against them. I’m hoping to do that again this week,” he explains.

|“At the end of the day, when you cross the white line, you’re enemies and after the game, you catch up and hang about.|

“They’ve been playing some pretty good footy, as of late, (but) probably haven’t got the results they were after. They’re definitely a team who have showed some fight this year that’s for sure,” he says.

Bennett has shown faith in the team who beat the Dragons 26-12 at home last Thursday night, opting to rest Origin stars Tom Gilbert and Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow.

“It’s a long season and obviously during the Origin period you have to make some decisions. It’s probably good that we’ve known early in the week that they won’t be playing, so we can sort of move on and prepare as best we can,” Nikorima says.

“It’s one of the best things about Wayne. He makes the call early in the week, so everyone knows their roles and there’s no question marks over anything.”

Nikorima: ‘I’m loving it’

Possible debut for Plath

There is however a cloud over Harrison Graham (18th man) playing this week, due to hamstring concern, but Max Plath trained today in case he’s needed to make his debut for the NRL side.

He has been named 19th man.

See the photo gallery from training at the end of this story

“We have that next man up mentality here and we have full faith if he does get the nod that he will come and do a job for us,” Nikorima says.

The proven versatile player says Plath is also a good utility player.

“He’s covered a lot of positions out here – he’s played in the back row, lock, in the halves and a bit of work as hooker. That’s probably the one thing that stands out the most … his willingness to learn and he’s not afraid to talk. He’s still a young bloke but he bosses his team around,” Nikorima says.

“(Redcliffe Dolphins Hostplus Cup Coach) Ben Te’o’s told me he’s sort of been the glue for the Dolphins team. They’ve been performing really well in the Q Cup. It’s always handy when you get players coming through who have found a bit of form in the Q Cup. If he does get the nod, I’m sure he’ll do a good job.”

It’s quite a rap from a player who has played in a number of positions himself this season, stepping up as needed.

“I’ve done it my whole career. I’m sort of used to it. I’m a team player first. If we get the win, at the end of the day, that’s all that matters to me. It doesn’t matter where I play, even if I’m sitting up in the coach’s box next to Wayne …. If we get the win I’ll be as happy as I would if I was playing,” Nikorima says.

Nikorima: ‘I’m loving it’
Kodi Nikorima

Redcliffe move pays off

At the halfway mark of the 2023 season, Nikorima’s feeling pretty good.

“Externally, there’s a lot of talk about us probably exceeding expectations but behind closed doors we’re comfy but we don’t want to get too comfortable,” he says.

|“We obviously have goals that are achievable for us towards the back end of the year but for us it’s taking it week by week.”|

He’s confident despite Origin disruption to the squad, there are enough quality players to step up and fill the void in the coming weeks.

“I’m loving it. There are some players I spent the early days of my career with who are back here with me – we’ve got some experienced players … I think a really good core of a group … we have some good leadership here,” he says.

“It starts at the top with Wayne and the coaching staff and it goes all the way down to our development players.

“I’m enjoying being back in Queensland and Brisbane. All my family are here and you know what they say … happy wife, happy life. My wife’s absolutely loving it being back home in Brisbane.”

See the training photo gallery (click through)

Photos by Dominika Lis

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