Nikorima could make move to Warriors

Brisbane Broncos halfback Kodi Nikorima could sign with the Warriors. Photo: Getty Images
Brisbane Broncos halfback Kodi Nikorima could sign with the Warriors. Photo: Getty Images
Kodi Nikorima could be a Warrior by the end of this week.

The switch of the Kiwis halfback to Mt Smart now seems like a matter of when, not if.

The Warriors have made a formal offer to the 25-year-old for the 2020 season and beyond, and it's a lucrative one, a significant upgrade on his current deal at Brisbane.

Nikorima is currently signed at the Broncos until the end of next year, but has an option in his favour for next season.

However, his agent Issac Moses will pursue an early release for the 13-test Kiwi, and the New Zealand Herald understands that is likely to be granted.

The final step is up to the Broncos — who are under pressure following a less than ideal start to their 2019 campaign — but they are expected to grant Nikorima an early release, with several promising youngsters among their halves contenders.

Once that happens, Nikorima will be free to ink what will be a long term deal with the Warriors.

Nikorima has been in the Warriors sights since December last year, after the surprise departure of Shaun Johnson in late November.

Warriors football manager Brian Smith said by text on Tuesday he had "no comment on the situation", while CEO Cameron George wasn't able to be contacted.

Coach Stephen Kearney admitted the club was chasing Nikorima for 2020, but couldn't speculate on the prospect of him arriving before that.

"We've had an interest in Kodi for a while — I've been working with him for a while about getting him here for 2020, where he has an option on his contract at the Broncos,"

Kearney told D'arcy Waldengrave on Radio Sport. "Anything before then is in the hands of the Broncos and his agent. So I can't anything about questions before 2020 but I will say we had an interest in him for next year and beyond."

Kearney added that he has been extremely impressed with the work of young half Chanel Harris-Tavita, and the Nikorima move is just about adding depth to a crucial area.

Harris-Tavita will again be key on Sunday against the Knights, but the teenager is expected to have Blake Green back beside him, after the Australian has missed the last three matches will a groin injury.

Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and David Fusitu'a have also been named, though they will have to pass fitness tests later in the week.

A notable feature of the 17 is the retention of Patrick Herbert in the centres, after his impressive debut against the Storm.

Veteran Adam Blair has also been demoted to the bench.

He was much improved in Melbourne — with a huge effort on defence — after intense criticism of his recent performances.

However Isaiah Papali'i will offer much more of an offensive threat, and has been named to start in the second row.

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