Childhood dream for Milford, Nikorima
Former junior rugby league teammates Kodi Nikorima and Anthony Milford will live out their childhood dreams as they start together in the halves for Brisbane in Saturday's World Club Series clash at DW Stadium.
The diminutive duo represented the South East Queensland Stingers at under-13s level and reunited at the Broncos in 2015 when Milford made the trip up from the nation's capital to be closer to his family.
Brisbane signed Nikorima instead of Milford when they were both 13-years-old, and now eight years later the pair will get to star together on the international stage as Brisbane face the Wigan Warriors in tough English conditions.
Former Canberra star Milford is not worried about the cold and wet conditions expected in Wigan this weekend and is relishing the chance to play alongside Nikorima – a player he believes is growing in stature at the club.
"I can't wait to start with Kodi – I played a lot of junior footy with him and we grew up together," Milford said.
"It's pretty exciting for Kodi and myself to be able to play at a halves combination at a high level.
"I think he's picked up a lot from being chosen in the Kiwi squad – being selected has been a big help for him.
"He's got a spring to his step every time he comes to training and he is prepared to nail down his spot by doing the best he can."
Both Brisbane and Wigan suffered from similar heartbreak as they finished runners-up in their respective competitions.
A Johnathan Thurston golden point field goal dashed Brisbane's hopes of winning the 2015 NRL Grand Final and Wigan suffered a similar experience in their Super League grand final, being beaten by Leeds by a meagre two points.
Saturday will be the sixth time Brisbane have faced the Super League powerhouses.
The teams last faced off a year ago, with Brisbane winning in dramatic fashion with a golden point Corey Parker penalty goal getting them over the line 14-12.
The Broncos will need to call on all their experience and leadership if they are to get the job done this time around.
The loss of Ben Hunt through suspension means other senior players will need to take control of the match, with Milford calling on hooker Andrew McCullough to lead the Broncos around the park.
"Obviously with Ben not being there it's going to be different. We are going to need to share the load between each other and organise the boys a bit better," said Milford.
"We have a lot of experience in the middle – Andrew McCullough's going to help us out.
"He's like another coach for us halves because he reads the game better than anyone else. We are learning as much as we can and he's putting stuff in our game that we need to take out there against Wigan."